Monday, December 14, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Storoem of Mine

The Garden Statue

The garden statue catches his eye.
It is ordinary – gray plaster, two feet tall,
but it is something he feels compelled to buy;
although for doing so, he has no explanation at all.

The statue is an angel, standing, head lowered,
a solemn look upon her face, cradling some object
lovingly to her chest. At first he puts her with stored
items, but later displays her in the yard – the subject

of complaint from his wife. “Sitting at the kitchen table,
that thing will be prominently in view. I don’t like it much.”
“It seems to belong there. I don’t know if I will ever be able
to explain. It intrigues me. The angel herself is cast with such

exquisite details – the feathers in her wings, the curls of hair,
her facial features, the flow of her garment -- all these are so
sharply defined. Yet the object she clutches is not. There
is no way to tell what it is…but I sense that I should know.”

The statue stands for weeks out in the December cold.
He studies her daily as he drinks his morning coffee.
It seems to speak to him, but the message remains untold.
There is something there…what he simply cannot see.

The house is filled with family staying for the holiday.
On Christmas morning, he gets out of bed at 6 a.m.
Enjoying his coffee, the first rays of dawn in a strange way
illuminate the garden statue. That is when he sees them.

The angel has her head held high, with a smile beaming.
She holds in outstretched arms a boy child plain to see.
Coffee spilling, he runs to the window, and stands looking
with wonder when he hears the others clamoring for it to be

time to see what Santa brought and to open presents for all.
He calls, but no one is interested. He goes to tell them
of the statue. Presents, presents, lavish ones, large and small,
consume their interest. Chances of interesting them are slim.

He returns to the kitchen to gaze upon the statue once more.
The angel stands head bowed, sad, appearing now as before.

Please stop by:,

Holiday Cheers!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Spirit of the Season Catalog

Greetings, All ~

I just now returned home tonight from a holiday trip to my father's in Macon, Ga, to my sister-in-law's & her family in Clemmons, NC, to my oldest son's (Geoffrey) & his family (3 of my 5 grandkids)in Rock Hill, SC, back to Pop's in Macon, & finally the 675 miles home to Shreveport today...a long 12-hour drive in the rain. Arriving home exhausted, I was delighted to find "The Spirit of the Season Catalog" has now been released on-line. I have five books in this catalog: three in the Poetry book section, one in Fantasy, and one in Romance. Check it out:

This on-line catalog offers a life-enriching shopping experience and features bestselling books, unusual and personally empowering, self enriching products and services in a varied collection from amazing authors, coaches, gurus and mentors...and ME.

You’ll find gifts in the Spirit of the Season Catalog in the following categories: art, inspirational, motivational, business opps, success & wealth building, health and energy healing, Law of Attraction workshops, intuitive healing, all genres of fiction and a variety of non-fiction to empowering products that will light anyone’s life and .... MY BOOKS!

Please check out this catalog ... And MY BOOKS. Then please share the catalog with your friends, family and contacts! Thanks so much.

Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season.

Cheers to all and to all a good night!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Soldier's Death.....for Veterans Day

Here is a poem I wrote that seems appropriate to re-post today in honor of Veterans Day:

A Soldier's Death

Mortally wounded, he lies in the dirt,
surrounded by the dead and the dying.
His blood flows warm; his wounds hurt.
He hears other men praying and crying.

The afternoon sun fades; soon it’ll be night.
Bravely onto this field his unit had marched.
He wonders which side has won today’s fight.
How he’d like a drink! His throat is parched.

He thinks of how fiercely he fought, of his kills.
He wonders what that matters now he’s dead.
Who saw? Who’ll remember his fighting skills?
Will he be thought a hero, or foolish instead?

When his name is found among those killed
on the casualty list posted in his home town,
will his countrymen’s hearts all be filled
with admiration or will apathy abound?

The end grows near; it’s hard to think clearly.
Regrets come…he’ll never again see his wife
and children. He loves them all so dearly!
May each have a happy and successful life.

Loving thoughts of his family fill his mind
as his body shakes with his death rattle.
He joins those noblest among Mankind --
soldiers who die honorably in battle.

Remember to honor veterans today, for if it were not for the sacrifices made by our veterans we all would not have the freedoms we take for granted as our birthright.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 2 of VBT Anniversary Tour -- Karen Cioffi

Today is day 2 of our VBT Writers on the Move group’s Anniversary Tour during the month of November. We are celebrating being together as a group for one year by having a daily winner from among the non-member visitors who leave a comment on that day’s blog (Today that would be THIS blog), plus we also will have one monthly winner from the Mystery Blog for the month (i.e., one visitor commenter on the blog site that happens to be the chosen Mystery Blog out of all the group’s blogs will win a special gift). So, all you visitors, be sure to read the new blog posting each day and be sure to leave a daily comment to be eligible for the prizes. Good luck!

This is the second stop on the 23-day Anniversary Tour. (If it’s 2 November, we must be at Harry’s blog!) I am quite pleased to have as my guest today our VBT group leader, Karen Cioffi. Karen has a brand new e-book available, The Self-Publisher’s Guide.

Now, let’s take a closer look at Karen’s new ebook:

Title: The Self-Publisher's Guide
An e-Book by Karen Cioffi
Number of Pages: 22
Price: $3.99 (for the time being). Hey, that's not bad - a writing and publishing guide for the price of a cup of coffee.

It's available for sale now!

So, what's in the book, you ask?

Ah, there's quite a lot!


Do you have a book in you dying to come out? Do you want to self-publish a book you’ve already written, but you’re not sure what to do? Do you need basic writing and promotional tips and guidance?

Well, The Self-Publisher’s Guide is for you!

From Writing Your Book, to Self-Publishing Options, to Creating a Website, to Promotion - it's all included in this handy guide.

TOPICS INCLUDE: learning to write, critique groups, being ready for publishing, choosing a publishing company, creating visibility through promotional strategies, bringing traffic to your site, resources, tools, and much more.

Great self-publishing and promotional tips, advice, information, and examples!

For NEW SUBSCRIBERS to her Karen and Robyn – Writing for Children’s Newsletter, Karen is giving the first 2 parts of the e-book for free: Your Self-Publishing Options, and Writing Your Book.

Direct link to book:


Karen, your first book is a bedtime picture book. What prompted you to write this e-book?

I attend a number of marketing and writing tele-seminars and found that there are many people who don’t know the basics. I wanted to be able to reach these people and others in the same boat and offer some affordable help. So, I decided to write a guide to self-publishing but included the basics also, from writing a book to creating visibility.

I thought it would be a simple 5-10 page e-book, but it grew. Since it’s about self-publishing for beginners what better way to create it than through a self-publishing avenue - I used And, it didn’t cost a penny! You can do it too!

Karen Cioffi's Blogs and Website Links: (writing services with Karen Cioffi, Lea Schizas, Robyn Feltman and Donald Ventrice) (writing, marketing, book reviews and the Karen and Robyn Newsletter) (information about Karen’s children’s bedtime picture book, with sheet music to the original lullaby included) (group of authors who utilize cross-promotion to create/increase visibility and readership) (health information and option specifically geared toward Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Depression, and Anxiety

To whet your appetite, here's an EXCERPT from The Self-Publisher’s Guide:

“You might think writing your book and getting it published is the hard part. Well, you had better think again!

Although your book is for sale, that doesn’t mean anyone is going to buy it – even if it’s listed on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. The only way to lead readers to your book, and make sales, is through promotion.

The first step to selling a book is to create a quality product. You want to make sure your book is professionally edited and bound, and if there are illustrations involved, be sure they are of professional quality, or close to it.

The second step in selling your book is making people aware of it.

This is where you need to roll up your sleeves and get ready for an ongoing battle uphill. Remember, you are one of thousands and thousands of writers who are trying to get their books noticed and sold.

The name of the game is visibility!

You have a few options here: advertising, hiring a publicist, and doing your own promotion (this is the free option). If you’re like me, you’ll opt for the promotion.

There are a number of ways to create free visibility for your book. We’ll take a look at a few of the basics.”

This excerpt should have convinced you that you would benefit from Karen’s e-book if you have any interest in self-publishing, either now or sometimes in the future. You should buy it!

Enjoy the remaining daily blogs each day from now through the 23rd. Please visit each day, and don’t forget to comment!



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Wandering Warrior V

This is the fifth installment in the seven-storoem saga.

A Wandering Warrior V

Aldric and Gwendolyn ride throughout the morning
until they come to the Great Forest. Herein lies their
safety, for they can hide with a moment’s warning
and remain undetected despite how many search there.

They travel for days, now at a more leisurely pace,
and get to know one another as only two traveling
companions can. Gwendolyn’s beauty and grace
remind Aldric of happier times before the unraveling

of his world of honor and chivalry by betrayal of his
beloved king. “ If only we had met back then…” fills
his thoughts. Traveling in Gwendolyn’s company is
a tonic for his wounded soul, and his heart soon reveals

itself not to be cold and dead but to beat with renewed
feelings of love and passion. After several more days
of riding, Lady Gwendolyn insists on bathing, to include
Aldric as well. She will bathe here, he downstream aways.

Aldric unclothes and wades waist-deep into the river
to wash. Suddenly, Gwendolyn’s scream reaches his ears.
He runs ashore, grabs his sword, and charges upriver.
Gwendolyn stands near shore, fighting back her tears.

“I saw a bear on the other bank. It scared me,” she explains.
She stands soaking wet, with her chemise clinging tightly
to her body, displaying her womanly charms. She remains
composed, even as she sees Aldric is dressed most unknightly.

She wades ashore and into his arms. Aldric drops the sword
and kisses her with a passion unlike any he has ever known.
Gwendolyn melts against him. “I do love you so, my lord,”
she breathes into his ear. Aldric responds with a low moan.

Then, he stiffens and pushes her away. “This must not be.
There is no possible future for us, and, just as long as I draw
a breath, no man shall besmirch your honor, not even me.”
He walks away…but his frozen heart has completed its thaw.

The rest of the day is spent in silence. That night by the fire
Gwendolyn asks, “What plans do you have for us?” Aldric
answers, “In this black world we cannot do as we might desire.
I know what our future must be…and it isn’t what I would pick,

“but the world has made our choices for us. You can live
in safety and comfort at the nunnery nearby, where the nuns
will grant you asylum and protection only the Church can give.
I shall continue my wanderings and see where my luck runs.

“I will try to make my way to France. The king there shares
royal blood with our slain King Edmund and should have no
satisfaction at having seen his throne usurped. If he cares
to have me, I will join in service to his court, for they know

“of me there. I once accompanied King Edmund on a royal
visit and bested all their champions in a tournament. My sword
should provide my future. My lady, to you I shall remain loyal.
I swear not to touch another woman from this day forward.”

The next day they arrive at the nunnery, where Gwendolyn
is granted asylum. Aldric prepares to leave. “I would rather
live one month with you hiding in the woods than spend
a lifetime without you here in safety. We love one another.

“That is all that counts to me. Take me with you,” she sobs.
“No, I’ll not see you dead like everything else good in my world.”
Aldric knows he must leave quickly as each of her tears robs
him of his conviction. He rides away to meet whatever Fate unfurls…

I have received zero comments on any of the previous installments, which leads me to believe no one is reading these storoems. Any need for me to post the remaining two to complete the series?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Wandering Warrior IV

A Wandering Warrior IV

The lady and her rescuer sit staring into the fire
in silence. Finally, she speaks, “You are most truly
a great warrior and a noble man. Many men aspire
to attain your reputation. You blame yourself unduly

“for what has transpired. Throughout all the land, none
other was known to love the late king more…and he
loved and trusted no man over his champion. You’ve won
the hearts of all loyal to the king. The man that I see

“before me is well renown for his bravery and goodness.
So, why does the king’s champion, Sir Aldric Chadwyk,
now pretend to be some cold-hearted brute that bitterness
has consumed, devouring his chivalry, leaving him heartsick?

“I am Gwendolyn of the house of Bainbrydge. My father
and my brothers spoke of you in reverent terms as the finest
man in all the land. You may fool yourself, but don’t bother
trying to convince me that you are uncaring, lacking kindness.”

“Bainbrydge? Ah, I knew your father and brothers quite well.
They died a hero’s death close to their king. A death denied
to me! Heaven has cursed me to wander in earthbound Hell.
I should have died a courageous champion’s death. My pride

“has been stripped away – a champion alive while his king lies
rotting in his grave. In the climax of battle I was struck a wound,
knocking me from my horse and my senses. Before my very eyes,
the king and all I held dear was lost, as I lay helpless in a swoon.

“Unconscious I was carried away to safety by our retreating troops
to live in a world turned black and empty. I care not for life nor the
living. I am a hunted man. I must wander, avoiding public groups,
not tarrying long in any place, lest I be recognized. Can’t you see

“there is no future, no happiness left in this new world for me?
Death is my only friend. I shall wander, destroying evil as I go
until evil destroys me.” Gwendolyn says, “ Henceforth, you’ll be
my champion. I entrust my life, my safety to the noblest man I know.”

“My lady, all these many months I have wandered without purpose.
I shall not abandon you to your fate. Delivering you to safety I shall
do to honor to the debt owed your family. Pursuers will hunt us,
but I will defend you with my life until I carry you to a safe locale.

“Now best to sleep. We must be away with the dawn. We have far
to travel before our journey is done.” Gwendolyn lies down beside
the fire and smiles as she falls asleep. Aldric sees a shooting star
blaze across the sky. “A good omen! We’ll need Heaven on our side

before this is done,” he thinks. Yet, inside he feels a warmth he’s not
felt for many, many months, as though a tiny fire’s been rekindled.
A small smile crosses his face. He thinks, “Gwendolyn has rather a lot
of spunk! Too bad we didn’t meet when my passion could go unbridled.”

Awake at dawn, they are finishing packing the horses when the sound
of distant hoof beats from a large contingent of riders reaches their ears.
“Ride! They must have ridden throughout the night. We cannot be found
on open ground.” They gallop off…to a future where he’ll bring her tears.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Story Continues: A Wandering Warrior III

This is the third installment of this saga told in seven storoems. Please go back to the first posted storoem of the series to begin your reading.

This saga of A Wandering Warrior (I - VII) was published in:

A Wandering Warrior III

They – the wandering warrior and the wench –
rode hard all throughout the day to put distance
between themselves and the village. “It’s a cinch
men will be sent after us. I fear their persistence,

“for I am a prized possession of the innkeeper,”
spoke the girl, when once they stopped for the night.
The warrior replies, “They shall find the Grim Reaper
should they find us. My sole purpose now is to fight.

“But, pray tell, how did a lady of your noble demeanor
and grace become an indentured servant?” “My family
fought for the late king in the recent lost war. A meaner
fate could not have befallen us, no worse calamity…

“My father and brothers all killed; our lands and home
seized; my mother, sisters, and I sold into servitude
for unfair taxes newly levied – I could fill quite a tome
listing all the local injustices of such great magnitude,

“for the conquering lords sought plunder with their revenge.
But, what of you, kind sir? You showed yourself to be noble
in helping me escape last night. My presence might infringe
upon your ability to elude pursuers. Alone you’re more mobile,

“and they will be searching for a man and woman together.
You put yourself in danger in my behalf.” The warrior replies,
“You risked your life in warning me last night. So, whether
your presence adds risk to my travels, I know where my duty lies.”

She asks, “What is the nature of your travels? You seem battered
by fate and angry inside.” He stares into her eyes for a long while,
as though deciding whether to reveal his heart – cold and shattered
by past events. “I knew how to be happy, how to laugh and smile,

“but no more. Now I see the world as it is – filled with treachery
and ruled by evil men. The life I led of nobility and chivalrous acts
was a foolish dream. Evil has conquered good. My talent is butchery.
I served the late king as his champion. With sword and with axe,

“I fought on his right hand in many a battle. He was a goodly man
who sought peace and happiness for all peoples in this country.
He had a united kingdom with justice for all right in his hand…
one last battle against the northern warlords to win their fidelity.

“The king had such great plans for a lifetime of harmony and peace
for all -- a wondrous world of nobility and charity never before seen.
But in that battle, treachery carried the day! Where we would have least
expected betrayal – the king’s undoing was his own wife, the queen.

“The vile woman had made a secret deal to win her brother the throne.
Troops loyal to the brother turned upon our army mid-battle and sealed
our fate – the king was slain before my eyes, and our troops were thrown
back in chaos and defeat. That day the true nature of Man was revealed.

“Darkness and despair descended over the kingdom and over my heart
that fateful day. I am dead inside, unfeeling and uncaring for my fellow
man. I travel the earth alone until Fate chooses the place for me to depart
this wicked world. My time is done. Let other men prance and bellow.”

As they speak, they sit around a fire. The dancing flames throw shards
of light across her face, and he notices the great sadness overflowing her
eyes. She gently lays her hand upon his forearm. At first he disregards
her tenderness, but within him long-forgotten feelings begin to stir…

The next installment will follow in a couple of days.



Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Story Continues: A Wandering Warrior II

A Wandering Warrior II

Into their village late one spring day, rode
a man, muscular in body and noble in bearing.
‘Tho he now travels alone, once he strode
in the company of kings, loyal and serving.

The day grown hot and the road being dry and dusty,
the weary warrior stops at the inn, his thirst to quench.
The loud squeal from the door’s hinges, old and rusty,
draws all eyes his way. His settle on the lusty bar wench.

The wanderer crosses the room to sit with back to the wall.
“My lady, bring me meat, cheese, and a tall tankard of ale.”
The innkeeper rushes over to ask, “And can you pay for it all?”
The stranger’s response turns his blood cold, his face pale.

“Do you, kind sir, question my honesty? Doubt my honor?”
The innkeeper spies his ring, impressive and bearing a noble
seal. “I assure you I never intended to treat you with dishonor.
I must use caution because too many travelers are ignoble.”

The wanderer lays a bundle he has brought upon the table,
unwrapping it to reveal four swords of the highest mettle.
“Will one not buy me my evening repast, use of your stable
for my horse, and a room in your inn for me? We can settle

our account on the morrow.” The innkeeper readily agrees
and orders the wench to serve the needs of the stranger.
His having supped, now ready for bed, the girl precedes
him up the stairs to a room. “Sir, you are in great danger!

“The innkeeper fancies your ring and has made an evil plan
to kill you in your sleep. I have been ordered to ensure
you sleep soundly from exhaustion so that his men can
safely steal into your room…but murder I cannot endure.

“Sir, you must somehow escape without their ever finding out
I warned you, or else it will be my death, not yours, they seek.”
“My lady, you may be but an indentured servant, yet no doubt
have I of your nobility. Take heart. Neither of our futures is bleak.”

She lies awake in the bed; he stands guard beside the door.
Come mid-night, the door slowly opens and three shadowy
figures enter the room. The door slams shut, and even before
the men realize they are entrapped, in unison they suddenly see

the room is filled with flashes of moonlight reflecting upon
his sword shredding air and bodies. “Three deaths deserved,
three deaths delivered,” says the warrior. “My lady, you’ve won
my gratitude. Gather your possessions and go unobserved

“to the stable. I shall await you there.” At the stable he quickly
saddles his horse and the innkeeper’s. He knows there won’t be
any justice for the girl or for him in this village – best they simply
leave...and so, side by side, they gallop away to their destiny.

Part three to follow in a few days.



Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Storoems from Gilleland Poetry

Available at
The book's contents can be previewed with the Look Inside feature.

I plan to share some storoems from a series of linked storoems, all dealing with the adventures of A Wandering Warrior. There are seven storoems in the series, each telling a part of the story. These storoems are included in my second book of poetry, "Gilleland Poetry: Storoems and Poems".

Here is the first installment, A Wandering Warrior:

Into their valley late one spring day, strode
a man of muscular body and noble bearing.
‘Tho he now sought solitude, once he rode
in the company of kings, loyal and serving.

The day grown hot and the road dry and dusty,
the weary warrior took to a stream to cool and clean.
That is where the fair maidens, young and lusty,
first saw him, watching intently but keeping unseen.

As he washed away the grime, his muscles bulged,
and they could see the scars of many war wounds.
They whispered among themselves, then indulged
their desire, “Kind sir, night will arrive quite soon.

“We bid you sup with our family and stay the night.”
They felt his steely stare, as he took their measure.
Then he smiled. “To refuse you ladies wouldn’t be right.
This night promises to be an experience I’ll treasure.”

As they walked up the road towards their small farm,
they passed large plots newly plowed and freshly sown,
but at their farm the fields stood fallow, without the charm
well-tended land shows. Better days this family had known…

The mother and father welcomed him into their home
and warmly bade him share their wine and meager meal.
Supper now scarcely done, “Must you continue to roam?
Would staying through harvest have for you any appeal?

“I have no sons left, and the lord of this valley drives away
any man who dares work my fields. He seeks to drive us out.”
The wanderer thinks hard, then replies, “Farming isn’t my way,
and this isn’t my fight. No, I leave in the morning without doubt.”

The morning comes. The mother hands him biscuits and lard
for his travels. He is just leaving their yard when up ride
the evil lord and his sons. The lord’s horse bumps him hard,
sending him sprawling face-down in the dirt, denting his pride.

“We don’t take kindly to strangers lingering in this valley.
You had best get on your way,” the lord menacingly sneers.
The wanderer uncoils from the ground. “What if I dally?”
“Then we shall drive you out amidst our blows and our jeers.”

The wanderer stands erect and ready. “You swine deserve killing.”
Outraged, the first son charges his horse at the unarmed man,
who, averting the charge, grabs the reins and sends tumbling
both horse and rider. He straddles the son even before he can

realize what has happened. Drawing the son’s dagger, he deftly
slits his throat. At this, the lord and his three remaining sons
dismount and draw their swords. This will prove to be a ghastly
mistake! In unison they rush the stranger, who any retreat shuns.

As one son lunges at him, he sidesteps the thrust, grabs his hand
and wrests the sword from his grasp. He shoves the son toward
his father, whose sword accidentally buries itself into the man.
Now armed with a sword, the warrior warns, “Retreat, my lord,

while you still have the lives of your two last sons, plus your own.”
His words fall upon dead ears, and the three outraged bullies
charge into his whirlwind of swordplay, until all three lay prone,
bleeding their heart’s blood into the ground through severed arteries.

The fair maidens and parents have watched the debacle with awe.
Now they rush to the side of the bloody warrior. “Thank you, sir.
You’ve delivered us from our enemies.” He replies, “I did not draw
their blood for you! They caused the fury buried within me to stir.

“They reminded me of what I once was and the code I lived by.”
“Come. Stay the night. Let my daughters attend your every need.”
The wanderer stays the night. None of his wishes do they deny.
On the morrow, he leaves their valley astride the lord’s trusty steed.

I hope you enjoyed reading the first installment in the series of seven. The second installment will be posted in a day or so.



Saturday, October 3, 2009

Two Interviews You Won't Want to Miss!

Welcome back! Today we have two interviews for your reading enjoyment. First, I do the Q&A routine (Marvin’s answers are anything but your routine answers!) with Marvin Wilson. Afterwards, Louis Seiffer (the puffed-up, Satan-wannabe character from Owen Fiddler) is interviewed by Thames Lipton on "Inside the Actor's Head Studio” (You’ll see Marvin’s mind at work here.). Now on to my interview with Marvin:

To begin, Marvin, please tell the readers a bit more about yourself, starting with:
Where were you born, where did you grow up, and where did you get your education?

I was born in Marion, Indiana, grew up in northern Michigan, and attended Central Michigan University. But the majority of my "higher learning" came through many and varied life experiences, and continues to this day. I hope it never stops.

What career(s) did you have throughout your life? What is your background?

Wow - HUGE question - at least for someone like me. Okay, let's see. I have been, in reasonably chronological order: a preacher's kid that sang in church at the age of two; a thespian and music major in high school and college; a college dropout; a Hippie Rock and Roll guitar playing, traveling, pot smoking/acid dropping, Vietnam War-protesting, womanizing party animal; a Zen Buddhist student eventually ordained as a Buddhist minister; a carpenter; a small business owner in the construction industry; a network marketing massive organization builder; a public speaker, sales expert and sales trainer, and public speaking trainer; a skilled trades teacher in an adult continuing education school; a complete failure in my mid-life crisis who got addicted to crack cocaine (yes, you read that right - read my memoirs (“I Romanced the Stone"); a believer in the Way of Christ after having a powerful spiritual experience - which I still am today, and ... (taking a pause to catch my breath) - now a writer and blogger, an author who has the audacity to pen novels.

What are some of the highlights of your life?

1. The wild freedom of the 60's and 70's as a Hippie Rock and Roll musician - it'll kill ya, the drugs, sex, and fast pace, and I'm glad I got out of that lifestyle before it did, but man, oh, man - was that fun. I'd do it again, given the chance and bunches of decades taken off my age. But like I said, sex drugs and rock and roll is not a recipe for longevity.

2. Meeting and marrying my wife. She saved my life - twice. The first time was when she made me throw away my "little black book," settle down and be a one-woman-man with her. She and I married; I got into a slower, steadier, more sustainable and accountable lifestyle, and it surely extended my life. The second time was when she stood by me, never gave up on me, and loved me back to life during my addiction. Read my memoir, "I Romanced the Stone."

3. Meeting with the Christ after I had lost everything. My marriage was on the rocks (my fault), business failed, income and home lost, toys all taken away, cars repossessed, respect of others gone, and I had a $100-a-day crack cocaine addiction on top of a serious alcohol problem. God saved me and made me whole again. Since that day I've never had so much as one single craving. I don't go to AA meetings; I don't have to get up everyday and fight off the demons; no ... I disagree with 12-step philosophy that says there is "no cure." There sure as hell is, because I am a living example. Lay it down at the cross and ask God to take it from you. Do that with all your heart, mind and soul, I guarantee you can find freedom. I did.

When and how did you start writing?

That was right after my spiritual experience. Well I had been a journal keeper, amateur writer and poet all my life, but it was only then that I decided to write and publish a book - as a way to give back. And then I just kept going. I fell in love with writing and sharing spiritual/inspirational insights through the written word.

Please tell us more details about your writing career. What all have you written (genres, short stories, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, articles, etc) ? When did you become a novelist and why?

I've written lots of poems, although never published any yet; I've published three books, my memoir "I Romanced the Stone," the novel "Owen Fiddler", and "Between the Storm and the Rainbow", which is an anthology of some of the 'best of the best' blog posts I've written and posted. I currently have three manuscripts in the works, all novels that I plan on having published in 2010.

What goals do you have as a writer?

Besides making a ton of money? lol - Seriously, I want to reach people with spiritual and inspirational messages that help folks realize that the world is at their command if they will take responsibility for their lives, get unified with the ALL, learn the basic, fundamental and universal principle of the Law of Attraction, and follow The Golden Rule.

What else would you like your readers to know about you or your writing?

I write from the heart, I am a 'tell it like it is' writer, and I write what I know - which is a lot, having been around the block of life several times and having survived in good enough health and spirits to talk about it. And I say that not because I am so great, no - but because He that is in me is great and I submit to that higher power.

What is something fascinating about you as a person or as a writer?

Well if what I've divulged about myself already isn't enough to make our readers fall off their chairs (smile), how about this ... I've been frustrated all my adult life because I always wanted to be an NBA star. But, at nearly 60 years of age, a short, overweight, white guy who can't jump, has a poor shot, and couldn't guard my own shadow anymore on the court, I may have to reconsider my goals in life. Also, as you can see, I have no sense of humor.

What is your philosophy of life?

We are all interconnected, all one. You cannot take from another or harm another without doing the same to yourself. Conversely, giving to and helping others equals benefiting yourself.

Great interview, Marvin! I think the readers will feel that they learned a lot more about who Marvin Wilson is.

Next, Thames Lipton’s of "Inside the Actor's Head Studio” interview with Louis Seiffer. Host Thames Lipton gets up close and personal with the new smash sensation, Hollywood movie star, Louis Seiffer:

Lipton: Welcome to Inside the Actor’s Studio, Louis. I know our audience is thrilled that you would honor us with your appearance today. Thank you for being here.

Seiffer: Thanks. You’re welcome. And please, call me Lou.

Lipton: Very well, Lou. (pause) Lou, if you don’t mind me stating the obvious, you are an enormous man! Even bigger than you seem in your fantastically successful movie, Fiddler’s Follies. We even had to search the studio for a chair large enough to accommodate you. Just how tall are you? What is your weight?

Seiffer: (broad, proud smile, a shift of weight from side to side, producing sounds of seating boards in pain) Seven foot six, three fifty, give or take, it depends.

Lipton: Depends? Depends on what?

Seiffer: It all depends on how much attention I am getting. I swell in stature the more people believe in me.

Lipton: (Looking surprised, eyes widened) Really? Such a curious quality! I’d like to get back to that in a moment, but I know everyone is just dying to know how you came from obscurity to movie superstar stature in such a short while. How did you get your big break?

Seiffer: Well, I’ve been flying under the radar for, hell, seems like thousands of years, you know, doing bit parts in any kind of nightmarish foul scripts I can get into. I’ve actually been written up in the Bible, but nobody reads that anymore. Just as well, the reviews weren’t that great. Anyway, my break into the big time came when Marvin Wilson sold the movie rights to his best-selling book, Owen Fiddler. Owen Fiddler bought the rights, you know, and produced the movie. He and I go back, he owed me one, so I got the part.

Lipton: I see, and of course we were all astonished to learn that Owen Fiddler was a real person.

Seiffer: Oh, he’s real, all right, the (bleep)ing (bleep)hole. (Lou bares his funky yellow fang-like teeth)

Lipton: What? So you don’t much care for the man who helped launch your Hollywood career?

Seiffer: Like I said, he owed me. Now he figures he has no need of me anymore. That hurts my ego. I’m barely three foot tall around him these days. (bleep)ing little (bleep)head.

Lipton: And again with the size and stature changes thing! How odd! Can you demonstrate that for us?

Seiffer: I have little control over it. It just happens. Takes a strong personality to make me change. I brought a clip from Fiddler’s Follies with me, though. It’s the scene where Owen Fiddler, myself and Frenda Fiddler meet in the never-world. Frenda is, as we all know, an outstanding phenomenon, a powerful force onstage or off. This scene was done in one take, and it demonstrates that quality in me that you and everyone else seem so (bleep)ing interested in.

Lipton: Very well, let’s let our audience view the clip. (motions to the stage hand)

(The screen lights up with the scene a dull gray ethereal room. Louis Seiffer is lying in a bed, appearing weak. Owen Fiddler stands next to the bed. A glow in the partially opened doorway begins to intensify. It simmers, then boils and pops. It bursts like a bomb going off into the room, slamming the door off its hinges. A display of blinding white lights revolve and spin around a sparkling core that dances about. Lou Seiffer looks impressed. Owen stares in awe. The light show begins shrinking and coalescing, settling into a human-like form. Frenda Fiddler now stands in the middle of the room in an alabaster translucence of divine spirit. She takes a firm stance, assumes a countenance of authority and begins to speak.)

“I need the both of you to remain quiet and listen intently to what I have to say. I do not have time to repeat myself. My words will be chosen carefully in order to convey accuracy and truth.”

(Lou Seiffer gets incensed and bursts out of the bed. He takes form as a horned indigo pig-devil wielding a five-pronged spear and levitates into a hover above her head. His breath is a visible puke yellow wind that stinks like the decomposing dead. He roars at her)


(Frenda looks firm into his eyes) “Sure, I know who you are. You are the representation of fear that resides in the hearts of humanity. You are really nothing at all, although you think yourself to be the greatest of the gods.”

(Lou starts to lose color, size and elevation as she continues)

“You’ve made an eternal career choice as the one who tempts mankind into mortal deception and fleshly pleasure. You lull the materially fortunate into a spiritual slumber as they recline in their luxurious castles built upon sand. You tantalize the “have-nots” with temporal elixirs of profane pleasures and deadly desire-fulfillments. You feel all puffed up with a false sense of power that is just an illusion. Humankind grants you that power through its ignorance and fear. You must just love it when someone commits a foolish deed and then says, ‘Oh, that wasn’t me, the Devil made me do it.’”

(Camera cuts to a close-up of Lou - he’s back in the bed now, appearing shaken. Frenda stands over him)

“Humanity has built you up in their minds as the most powerful of evil spirits, some terrible demonized deity with the power to kill and damn the soul. For thousands of years the churches have falsely glorified your status as the mighty punisher of sins, holding spiritual freedom and enlightenment at bay out of fear. As if your power to rule over people’s will and destiny were in fact a reality. You and I both know that’s not the truth, don’t we now?”

(Lou is the size of a toddler now and lies still as Frenda concludes)

“We each hold the power of choice. We each decide with our thoughts, deeds and actions whether to create Hell for ourselves or to move toward Heaven. I choose to not listen anymore to your insipid prattle and lame threats. Frankly, I’m getting tired of all of this and quite bored with your presence. Oh, and by the way, did I tell you your breath stinks?”

(Frenda swells her aura into a bright red sphere and shouts)


(Louis Seiffer vanishes)

(The screen goes blank and lights come up to the sound of thunderous applause)

Lipton: Outstanding! Lou, thank you so much for … Lou? (looks around, incredulous) Where did Lou disappear to? (motions to the director to cut to a commercial)


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Meet Author Marvin Wilson

It is my distinct pleasure this month to host author Marvin Wilson, a member of the VBT group – Writers on the Move. Here’s what Marvin looks like:

and here’s a bit about Marvin:

Marvin D. Wilson is the author of three published books, “I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie)”, “Owen Fiddler”, and “Between the Storm and the Rainbow”. “Owen Fiddler” has been awarded the prestigious AVATAR award for excellence in spiritual books. Wilson has had articles published in several Ezines and has been interviewed on hundreds of blogs, radio and TV shows, both over the Internet and on the airwaves. A prolific blogger, his internationally popular blog, Free Spirit, was voted first place in the 2008 Book Blogger Appreciation Week award contest in the Christian/Inspirational Fiction category. His other blog, Tie Dyed Tirades, also acquired global popularity.

Wilson is a family man, married for thirty-three years, with three adult children and six grandchildren. He has been around the block of life several times, through the ups and downs, and has survived in good enough spirits to desire to write about life, to write about living life on purpose. Wilson is a self-described “non-religious, dogma-free, Maverick spiritualist Christian.” He writes books that deliver spiritual and inspirational messages in an engaging, thought-provoking, often times humorous, more than often irreverent, sometimes sexy and even ribald way, through the spinning of an entertaining tale.

Marvin D Wilson is an editor with All Things That Matter Press and also does freelance editing.

Contact Information:



Twitter page:

Now let’s take a look at Marvin’s book, “Owen Fiddler”.

Title: Owen Fiddler
Retail Price: $16.95
Page Count: 212
ISBN 10: 1594315639
ISBN 13: 978-1594315633
Author: Marvin D Wilson

Book Description:
(Sing along to the tune of the Beatles' "Nowhere Man")
Has a selfish point of view, why he's such a fool, no clue. Isn't he a bit like me and you?
Owen, man, please listen. You don't know what you're missing. Owen, man, your world is at your command!
He's no role model for you or your kids, but reading his story will learn ya a thing or two, and that's a fact. This is an entertaining, thought-provoking, humorous and spiritually insightful book which will surely have you thinking about your own life. Hey you – yeah, you! Do you like to dance? Don’t forget to pay the fiddler!

And check this out!

What Others Are Saying About OWEN FIDDLER Review by S. Agusto-Cox, “Savvy Wit & Verse”:

“Marvin Wilson's morality tale Owen Fiddler chronicles the bad behavior of one man--Owen--from his early years as a boy through adulthood and how his life spirals out of control. He meets his wife Jewel and they have a daughter Frenda, who becomes the light of Owen's life. Frenda is Owen's foil in this tale.

Owen is a womanizer, a drunkard, a liar, and behaves horribly toward his mother, stepfather, and brother. When the reader thinks nothing can get worse for Owen, it does. Not once throughout the novel does Owen take responsibility for his actions or the consequences. There is always someone else to blame--his brother Paize, his stepfather, his friends, and others.

Not only is Owen an unlikeable character, but the author introduces us to a cast of unique characters, including Lou Seiffer (Lucifer) who is a truck driver that lends Owen money and Kris (Jesus Christ). The reader will have a hard time rooting for Owen to get a brain and evolve, but his daughter Frenda makes the reader want Owen to improve at least for his daughter's sake, if not his own. The novel is fast-paced weaving in and out of the past to tell Owen's story and that of his family, but in some sections the author's thoughts on the subject are interjected rather than allowing the characters' thoughts and feelings take center stage.

Although Frenda would care about how her date, Robert, felt while she was wearing heels, the earlier character buildup for Frenda does not support the sort of sarcastic statement about males being tough on the outside and easily bruised on the inside.

Some descriptions place the reader in the scene with Owen, and the reader can smell and taste what surrounds him, but in the same moment, it seems the author enters the scene. Uneducated Owen is not likely to know the term "proletariat" unless he's been educating himself in between his romps in the hay and nights on the bar stool. There are a number of these passages that can distract the reader, but there also are some great descriptive passages that capture the reader's attention.

Marvin Wilson tells a story of one man, an everyman, and his descent into oblivion and the perilous journey that leads to his salvation. Readers looking at today's society and how it has deteriorated can take away a lesson from this book. It is not only an evolution of Owen Fiddler, but can become an evolution of readers and others in today's me-first society. I applaud Wilson's efforts to espouse change. Christians could find fault with some of the scenes near the end of the book, though readers should cast aside their indoctrination and take from this book its overall message--forgiveness, change, and selflessness are important to reforming ourselves and society.” Review by Lisa Haselton:

“Describing Owen Fiddler as an interesting portrayal of how one's actions can impact others lives, is truthful, but lacking. This novel is a character-driven tale of one man's negative existence. The reader is challenged to find any redeeming qualities in the main character, Owen Fiddler. He is not a man many would befriend.

Owen Fiddler is not a happy man. The world is against him every step of his life. Everyone can relate to a bad day. There are just days when you wake up and nothing goes as it should. Owen Fiddler experiences that every day. He has no good days. Therefore, none of his actions are his fault. He'd be happy if the world would just let him.

The story is entertaining on the page, but it is deeper for those who want to look. Whether you are spiritual, religious, atheist, or totally unwilling to accept there is more to living than what is experienced here on earth, this novel will resonate.

Marvin Wilson has created a colorful cast of characters in Owen Fiddler. The reader experiences the world as Owen goes through it. The author focuses on a few central characters which allows the reader to see the same situation from different perspectives. It's an engaging novel and the reader is grabbed with the opening sentence.

I recommend reading Owen Fiddler for a spiritual perspective on life that will cause you to think about your own actions and behavior. Whether or not you believe in God, a higher being, heaven, or any type of life after death, you will walk away from this novel having at least been inspired to glimpse the possibility.”

“Highly spiritual, inspiring, enlightening and engaging … a case study in despair and addiction … a story that tugs at the heart. Using words as his brushes and the imagination as his canvas, Marvin Wilson paints an afterlife landscape that rings true.”
Philip Harris, author – “Waking God” - “A Maine Christmas Carol” - “Jesus Taught it Too” (Early Roots of the Law of Attraction)

“Anyone can appreciate the language and storytelling on the page, but Owen Fiddler is deeper for those who want to look - a colorful, unique, multi-layered cast of characters - you will walk away from this novel having at least been inspired to glimpse the possibility that there is more to life than a simple daily existence.”
Lisa Haselton - award-winning author/editor/book critic

“The story rings true - all of us share at least some of his demons. His story can change our story.”
Walter Sorg - WILS-Michigan Talk-Radio Host

“Owen Fiddler grabs your attention right away. He is the grasshopper in Aesop’s tale of the grasshopper and the ant.”
Joyce A. Anthony - psychologist and author of “STORM.”

Book Available for purchase at:

or at your favorite bookstore.

Please check out Owen Fiddler for yourself. Please return here in two days to read my interview with Marvin Wilson and to enjoy a special treat of having one of the characters from “Owen Wilson” be interviewed as well. See you in two days!



Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tubing on the Guadalupe

My wife Linda and I drove over to Dallas last week to get together with daughter Ginny and her boyfriend Cliff to drive down to Austin to go tubing on the Guadalupe River at San Marcos. It rained all week, but we were lucky on Friday, the day we went tubing. That day was party cloudy with periods of bright sunshine and perfect temperature in mid-80s. We got to the tube-renting place about noon. There were few others going tubing that day; we pretty much had the river to ourselves.

Linda and I rented tubes with bottoms in them, as well as another for the coolers (got to have my Tab). Gin and Cliff got open-holed tubes. The water was cold when we first stepped in the river, but it quickly became comfortable. We had a great float down river. It was a slow, lazy, lie back and take in the blue sky and tree canopy passing overhead sort of experience…until we came to the first rapids. The river’s water level was fairly low, so the rapids had exposed rocks and rocks just under the surface. I got caught up on every blamed rock in the rapids and had to fight hard to free myself. Still it was fun. Then we floated leisurely along for a long while…until we heard the next set of rapids. The current quickened so that we didn’t have to paddle with our hands any more. Next thing you knew, the current grabbed your tube and rushed you into the rapids. More rocks, more struggling to get free, some cursing, some laughing…through the rapids into calm water again. I was sure glad Linda and I had bottoms in our tubes. It kept the rocks from scraping our fannies. (That, plus Linda was worried a snake might bite her butt if it were sticking through the tube while she floated along. LOL.)

The river is a beautiful scene, with tall trees lining its banks. There were birds, numerous turtles, and even a deer drinking at river’s edge. We really enjoyed ourselves. The last set of rapids was all too soon upon us. The outfitters had told us to be sure and stay in the middle as we went under the bridge leading into this set of rapids so that they current would carry us to the right side where the water was deeper, the current stronger. It just so happened that I went over the waterfall first, and, of course, the current took me to the left into shallow water. I was grounded! I watched as the three others rushed down the right side and nearly out of sight. I could faintly hear them all shouting at me and laughing and waving bye-bye. While they floated along slowly, I struggled mightily to get my tube free from the rocks and back into the current. I’m a big fellow (all right, an obese, 65-year-old man with arthritis in my knees and shoulders). I looked like a turtle on his back flailing the air trying to flip itself over. I’d push with my legs and pull with my hands against the rocks. As soon as I’d get free from one rock, I’d encounter another. It took me a good ten minutes to get free and back into the current. I still have no idea how I ended up going left instead of right like the other three. Things like that just happen to me. All in all, it was a great experience and much fun. I’d like to do it again…when the river’s water level was higher! The trip took about four hours and covered about two and three-fourths miles of the river.

[We also enjoyed seeing Austin for the first time. It seems like a really nice city. We toured U of Texas, the establishments along Sixth Street, and attempted to see Austin’s number one tourist attraction: thousands of bats flying out from under a downtown bridge at sunset. We waited an hour and a half at dusk. Finally, about five bats flew out! There weren’t the thousands of bats promised…just five. What a disappointment! Maybe next trip to Austin we’ll get to see the bat-spectacle.]

Sunday, September 13, 2009

VBT Blog Question: Are You A Real Writer?

Today's VBT group blog topic is "Are You a Real Writer?" It is hosted at the blog of Nancy Famolari. An excerpt: "One of the writer's groups I belong to wanted people who had been published to sign up as “Published Authors.” I checked out the criteria and discovered, to my surprise, that the only criteria for becoming a”Published Author” was having an advance from a publisher. This seemed a rather narrow criterion, so I asked the person in charge if I was reading it correctly. I was assured that I was, and further, this meant anyone published by a small publisher, ebook publisher, self-published, or unlucky enough to have a NY publisher who didn't give advances, wasn't a “Published, or Real, Author."
"This experience led me to ask the question: What makes you identify yourself as a real writer?"

I would agree that to define "a real author" as only one published through a publisher that gives advances is much too narrow, self-serving, and out-of-date. Any writer with an e-book available on-line, a self-published book available through Amazon, B&N, etc, or a book published by a small press is certainly "a real author" in my opinion. But that is what defines an 'author'. The question Nancy asked is are you a real writer. Many writers will never become published authors in the traditional sense of producing a book.

To me, being a real writer means that one writes on a level of quality that is acceptable for his/her genre so that, if published, his/her work would be judged equal to that of published peers. For instance, I started out as a poet on-line. My first efforts were ripped apart with criticisms from better writers so that I felt like a novice or beginning student. It took months of writing before I began to get predominantly favorable comments from reviewers. Finally, after more than a year of writing poems, I began to get comments that my work moved people and that I should consider publishing my poetry in a book. That is when I felt like a true writer...when I won an approving readership. Later I published my first book of poetry through Lulu. When I held my book in my hands for the first time, I then felt like an author. Seeing my book available on reinforced that feeling.

Someone who writes a newspaper column but never published a book is certainly a real writer. Someone who writes a blog followed by numerous readers is a real writer. Being a real writer means to me being able to write with enough quality that readers enjoy the read. Simple as that.

(While here, why not check out the next post down on my blog about how I get ideas for my poetry. Thanks!)



An Old Copper Bell

Sometimes I am asked how do I come up with ideas for my poetry. Here is one example:
My wife Linda and I enjoy going to estate sales, both to tour the houses and to shop for interesting items. Linda collects salts and their silver spoons. I collect old bottles, old small tins, and metal bells. I must own 150 bells now of all sizes and shapes. I have them divided into groups, such as animal bells topped with various animals, lady bells (ladies in full skirts and bonnets), bells of differing heights, etc. I have become more selective in deciding to buy a bell when I see one nowadays. Friday we hit three estate sales. At one sale, I found an old bell that didn't look like much. The handle had been replaced long ago with a wooden barrel with a metal bolt and nut to hold it in place. The top nut was exposed and quite rusty. The wooden barrel handle had a big crack down one side of it. The clapper was missing, with only an old, dirty piece of cord left behind, having the end that had held the clapper showing left-over rust. The top (handle part) wasn't much to look at, for sure. The bottom part appeared very old and was dark green in color. The bell was heavy. The handle was 4 and 3/4th inches tall, with the bell being 3 and 1/4 inches tall with a diameter of the bell opening being 4 and 1/2 inches across. A heavy, eight-inch tall bell! Closer examination revealed the bell to be made of copper, quite heavy and thick-walled & quite well-made. I decided to buy the bell. It cost all of $3.50. The lady at checkout said that it was copper and should shine up nicely. However, I prefer to leave the decades old green patina untouched. I can just imagine that this bell was once a grand bell and was probably quite expensive when new. I, of course, wondered about its history -- who bought it new, who all had owned it, how/where it was used, who repaired it, how it came to be sitting on a den shelf in Shreveport. The result of my imagination answering such questions is the following storoem.

An Old Copper Bell

The elderly metallurgist poured all his skill
into making this bell something extraordinary.
The bottom used the finest copper from Brazil,
and the handle couldn’t be anything ordinary.

No, this bell required something quite unique.
So, he added a handle of exquisite carved ivory
that had been brought to Boston from Mozambique.
Now this was a bell fit for even Mr. Caleb Ivery.

Caleb was among the richest merchants in town.
His only daughter, Petunia, was headed out west
to become a school teacher. She had worn down
Caleb’s resistance, convinced him she knew best.

The Old West of 1880 was still wild and untamed.
Petunia secured a teaching job out in Kansas territory.
Caleb warned her she’d be killed or maybe maimed,
but she was determined to help write America’s story.

Caleb presented her with the bell to use in her school.
So away Petunia went west, to the bustling Dodge City.
Her “school” was space in a barn with horses and a mule.
For two years she sought students with no success. A pity!

Broke, and too proud to let daddy know he’d been right,
poor Petunia became a bawdy house lady. She had talent!
When done, the cowboys would ring her bell with delight.
One day, along came this gambler, handsome and gallant.

They fell in love, married, moved to New Orleans’s Quarter,
where they became respectable, but poor. To make ends meet,
Petunia sold her precious bell to a prosperous cotton exporter.
He gave the bell to his daughter, making the circle complete.

For his daughter taught school; the bell called many a child
to attention over her career, fulfilling its original mission.
After many years, a careless boy, acting all crazy and wild,
knocked it from her desk, causing the handle’s demolition.

The teacher cried, tried repair, but she gave up in despair,
for the ivory handle, carved so magnificently, was ruined.
She threw the broken bell into the trash. She couldn’t bear
to keep it longer. Along came the janitor, Elmer McEuen.

Old Elmer knew the bell was still of use. He made
a handle out of wood, securing it with a threaded metal
bolt and nut, and used a string with a nut that weighed
enough to produce a loud clang. He deemed it had mettle.

Old Elmer had a granddaughter that taught school over
in the poorest part of town. She took the bell proudly
to her classroom. She used it well for years. Moreover,
she passed the bell down to her daughter, who loudly

rang the old bell to call her own classroom to order daily.
The bell was serving this family of teachers’ fifth generation
when Katrina flooded New Orleans. During the melee
of evacuation, the bell was left at its schoolroom location.

When the school was finally renovated, the bell was thrown
out as trash. From the rubbish heap, a tourist, a young boy,
retrieved the bell. It was dirty; its copper no longer shone;
its wooden handle was cracked; but to the lad it was a toy.

The bell was brought to Shreveport at their vacation’s end.
The boy gave it to his invalid grandmother to keep bedside.
After her death, at the estate sale, the large crowd did wend
its way throughout the house, picking up objects they spied.

The old bell was examined by quite a few and deemed lacking
in worth. Finally, a bell collector happened along, took the old
bell in his hands, saw beyond its dark green patina and cracking
wooden handle. He knew it had too much quality to go unsold.

The collector added the bell to his collection, placing it back
behind the newer, shinier bells. He bought it since it was old,
copper, and once must’ve been prized. Having no way to track
its history or where it’d been, to him its story stayed untold.

So it is with many things old. Tho’ they be rusty or battered,
a bit broken and worn, they had a worthy past that mattered.



Friday, September 11, 2009

My Storoems

Some poets hold a Master of Fine Arts.
They prefer to use an esoteric word
over the simple, until their poem imparts
scant meaning, becoming rather absurd.

Some poets write poems that are concise,
with few stanzas, each having short lines.
To express single ideas, brief poems suffice.
Indeed, sometimes a compact poem shines;

readers can digest it like a M&M candy.
Sometimes I try to write such terse verse.
Were I able to do so, it would come in handy.
However, in my poem’s topic, I fully immerse.

I strive to tell a simple story in most of my poems,
using longer lines, numerous stanzas, a lot of ink.
My messages are revealed through these storoems,
which, I hope, will make my readers feel and think.

Some readers don’t read long poems. What a shame!
The longer poem can delve deep to deserve acclaim.
If ever as a poet, I were to earn fortune and gain fame,
it will be my “storoems” that popularized my name.



Thursday, September 3, 2009

Breakthrough, a Novel by Stephen Tremp

Welcome back! Today we will take a more in-depth look at Stephen Tremp's novel, Breakthrough.

Book Description:

* Hardcover: 424 pages
* Publisher: (December 31, 2008)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 0595710700
* ISBN-13: 978-0595710706
* Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches

Synopsis of Breakthrough:

In a world where the Information Age is moving at breakneck speed, breakthroughs in areas of science that were once fodder for science fiction are now becoming a part of our everyday life.

A group of graduate students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have stolen a breakthrough in opening and stabilizing Einstein-Rosen Bridges, or wormholes, as they are commonly known, that allows them to instantly transport people from one location to another. Their goal is to assassinate any powerful politician and executive controlling the world’s banking system that would use this technology for their own greedy gain rather than the advancement of mankind.

Meanwhile, in south Orange County, California, young Chase Manhattan, part of a new breed of modern-day discovery seekers, seeks to leave behind his life of danger and adventure and settle down as an associate professor of physics at University of California-Irvine. He also desires to build a lasting relationship with a beautiful girl he has not seen since high school.

But within days, he uncovers the diabolical scheme on the other side of the country and finds himself the one person who can prevent more murders from happening and who can ultimately destroy the technology. However, once the MIT group realizes Chase and his friends have the ability and motivation to not only take the breakthrough technology from them, but also thwart more killings, Chase soon finds himself in their cross-hairs, the latest target on their list of assassinations.

As the death toll mounts, Chase and his friends must battle this group of ambitious graduate students from MIT on both coasts and in cyberspace in a desperate race to control or destroy this breakthrough that threatens to drastically change life as we know it.

Breakthrough, the first book in the Adventures of Chase Manhattan series, begins with a bang and offers the audience exciting, new, and diverse heroes and villains. The result is a fresh suspense thriller series integrating elements of greed, betrayal, passion, lust, unconditional love, coming of age, and hope. The action is swift, and there are numerous twists and turns that will keep the reader turning the pages and wanting more.

Tremp's Breakthrough may be purchased at Barnes & Noble

and at

Reviews of Breakthrough may be read at both of the above on-line bookstores.

A few are reproduced here:

Review by Patty H: Posted June 3, 2009. This thriller had me turning the pages and up late at night to keep on the trail of what would happen next to Chase Manhattan. Then when I turned the last page, Oh No! - It can't be over! I hope the next book comes out soon! I really liked how you were drawn into the lives of the characters and the twists and turns of the plot. I believe technology breakthrough is coming into our lives - ready or not. It's interesting to examine the sub plots through out this book and see the good versus evil aspects of technology depending on who has the power to use it. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it for book clubs or a summer read. Why go to the movies for a summer thriller when you've got this choice. Rating: 5-stars

Review by MadMike: Posted January 15, 2009. A timely book that speaks to our generation with its technological breakthroughs and the struggle to use it for good or for evil. The concepts were well researched. What I liked most were the refreshing characters. Its time to read about new good guys with diverse personalities who somehow find a way to work together. Same with the bad guys. Lots of action with terrific character buildup combined with twists in the plot. Never a dull moment.
I also liked the discriptions of Boston, MA and Orange County, CA. I've been to Orange County and appreciate the attention to detail in the cities and establishments the story takes place. Really looking forward to the next book.
Rating: 5-stars

Review by Bill Buzzo: Posted March 13, 2009. Breakthrough: The Adventures of Chase Manhattan is a well-written, fast-paced thriller that takes you on a wild ride of suspense and intrigue. Chase Manhattan is a modern day cowboy trying to save the world from people who would chose power, money, and fame over the common interest and overall good of the planet. The storyline grabs you, pulls you in, and leaves you wondering, wow! what if that could really happen?? I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to more adventures with Chase Manhattan. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading, especially those who enjoy thrilling suspense & action incorporated into modern day technology. Rating: 5-stars

Nine of ten reviews at these sites for Breakthrough are 5-stars. The book has been well received by its readers. Maybe you should buy it and read it!



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Meet Author Stephen Tremp

It is my pleasure this month to host author Stephen Tremp as part of our on-going VBT book tour. Please read and get to know more about Stephen.

Author Stephen Tremp at a book signing for his novel “Breakthrough” at a Borders bookstore.

Now, let’s learn a bit more about Stephen Tremp’s biography:

Stephen Tremp was born in Marshall, Michigan, in 1962, the third out of four children of Duane and Joyce Tremp. When he was five, his family moved to Grand Ledge, ten miles to the west of the capital city of Lansing. Stephen attended Holbrook Elementary, Beagle Middle School, and Grand Ledge High School. He always dreamed of writing and enrolled in numerous English and writing courses throughout high school and junior college.

After living in Houston, Texas, for one year when he was nineteen, Stephen moved back to Lansing, Michigan, briefly a year before moving to Orange County, California, where he has lived ever since. He met his wife, Deena, and married her in October 1996 in an outdoor ceremony in Dana Point, California, high up on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. They have two children and a Yorkie. Stephen had to make a very difficult decision and gave away his beloved parrot, Pepper, a nanday conure, when the children were born.

Stephen attended Golden West and Orange Coast junior colleges before finishing his undergraduate degree with the University of Phoenix with a B.A. in information systems. After a two-year hiatus, he went back to the University of Phoenix, where he earned an MBA degree in global management. He is currently completing his doctorate program in business administration with the University of Phoenix.

Stephen spent over ten years in consumer finance for some of the largest companies in the industry, holding numerous management positions and often working over 60 hours a week. He has also worked as a classroom and online instructor, facilitating various courses in the field of Project Management.

After many years of writing short stories and poems — when he could squeeze in the time — Stephen has taken the last two years off to fulfill his lifelong passion: write and publish Breakthrough, the first installment of the Chase Manhattan trilogy. He has four more suspense thrillers to follow. Stephen receives his inspiration from some of his favorite authors: the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child tandem, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King, among others.

Stephen has identified two charities to donate proceeds from his books: The Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Now for some Q & A:

What or whom inspires you to write?

I just see life and all of my experiences as one continuous action suspense story just waiting to be transferred to paper. I see “what if” scenarios throughout the day, regardless of where I am, what I’m doing, or who I’m with.

Although I’m a bit of an introvert, I’m very passionate about developing “what if” scenarios. I can relate to the Drew Carey’s show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, an improvisational comedy show. Give me a simple “what if” scenario, and I can develop it into an action suspense trilogy that will keep the reader up late at night, turning the pages.

I draw much inspiration from Dean Koontz, Dan Brown, Stephen King, and the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child tandem. I read a lot of fiction thrillers and felt I needed to identify a unique niche market that a large segment of the population could identify with and get excited about.

I think I’ve found it in a world where the Information Age is moving at breakneck speed, and breakthroughs in areas of science that were once fodder for science fiction are now becoming a part of our everyday life. I believe I’ve found my calling, my gift to the world.

How did you get started?

I accepted a voluntary layoff after toiling over 10 years in the banking and finance industry and took advantage of the opportunity to write full-time.

Breakthroughs in physics and technology are broadcast into millions of homes via numerous cable channels in layman’s terms and computer graphics anyone can understand. I thought I would capitalize on this particular niche and incorporate them into an action thriller series weaving together breakthroughs in physics and technology with greed, murder, and mayhem. Will these breakthroughs benefit mankind and be used to further civilization, or will they be stolen and used for greedy gain? I think we know the answer. That’s why the world needs a hero like my protagonist Chase Manhattan.

What did you find to be the most frustrating step/process of getting your first novel published?

I signed a non-exclusive contract with iUniverse, which was acquired by AuthorHouse. During the transition, much information was lost, and it took about two or three additional months to bring Breakthrough to market. iUniverse (really, AuthorHouse) originally sent my unedited draft off to print. Can you imagine my response when I received the (ahem) final product? This was just the beginning of a series of comedies of errors.

But iUniverse has terrific customer service. They fixed everything in a timely manner. So some of the sting of their mistakes (which were many) was soothed by awesome customer service reps.

Do you have an agent? If yes, how long did it take for you to find one?

I do not currently have an agent, but I am actively pursuing one. I use Publisher’s Marketplace, a site to look for reputable agents and view deals they have made over the past couple years.

It took about three months of receiving feedback from various sources before I felt my query letter was professional. I even had my editor / proofreader go over it. I now understand why, after my initial effort of sending out my query letter, I received rejection for every one.

I feel much more confident today and have recently sent out about 50 query letters to specific agents. I’m expecting big things in the near future.

How long did it take for you to write Breakthrough?

Two years from start to finish. I thought I could accomplish everything in about eight months. But after the first editing/proof reading, I realized I still had a lot of research to perform and character development to perform. Then I had a second editor / proofreader go over the entire manuscript a second time. This was money well spent.

Are your characters based on yourself or anyone else you know?

The protagonist, Chase Manhattan (I may have to change his name to Chase Hawkings) is loosely based on me, only he’s a little bit taller than I am, a little bit better looking, a little faster, stronger, smarter, and much richer.

The rest of the good guys (and girls) and bad guys (and girls) are partially made up and partially based on people I’ve known throughout my life.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

Honestly, I don’t suffer from writer’s block, although there are times when I do write, I can’t use the material because it lacks substance or excitement. So I save the material and revisit the snipits in the future. I have a junkyard of sorts, and if I need a part, I go to my junkyard, grab what I need, then polish, refine it, and insert it.

Technically speaking, what do you have to struggle the most when writing? How do you tackle it?

I really don’t struggle very much as I love what I do. I love performing due diligence in my research. Much of the two years I spent writing Breakthrough was devoted to researching the latest and greatest in the realm of physics.
I also had to research the Boston and Cambridge, MA area via the Internet as well as Boston police procedures. I also use Google Earth and yearly weather reports to describe a particular area. Honestly, there is so much information available at my fingertips, the biggest struggle I have is sorting through the wealth of information and eliminating relevant data.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get a book published?

The number one piece of advice I can give an aspiring author is to budget money for a competent editor / proofreader. Even editors who want to write and publish a book need an editor. This is the biggest, and one of the easiest, mistakes an author can make.

Editors / proofreaders are vital to your success. Vital is an appropriate word. It means: necessary for life. Don’t try to go it alone, even if you call yourself an editor. You need that second set of eyes to look over your manuscript before you forward it on for printing.

You’re only as good as your editor / proofreader. Perception is reality, and the person buying your book will be the ultimate judge, not you, the author. I can say this with confidence, and hope to convince everyone I can to find a way to budget for a quality editor / proofreader.

Most editors / proofreaders will review your first 10 pages for free. I’m confident even the most experienced writers will be amazed at the results. Do what I did; pay for a few pages here, a few chapters there. Before you know it, your entire manuscript will be transformed into a work of art.

Please share with us your latest work-in-progress.

I am currently writing the next two installments of the Breakthrough trilogy entitled Opening and Escalation. These two books will pick up where Breakthrough left off and take the story on an international level. The setting is the United States, China, and the Middle East.

These next books are very exciting as I use more discoveries and breakthroughs in physics in these books. It’s too early to give away anything from these books, but for those who read Breakthrough, they will have a pretty good idea what direction Opening and Escalation will go.

What’s awesome for me is that I do not have to not have to set my stories centuries in the future and use characters with pointy ears. Since mankind is on the cusp of discoveries and breakthroughs in just about every facet of our lives, I can use our modern day setting and not have to resort to using a science fiction genre.

I’m also outlining an eerie Stephen King-type thriller entitled Murcat Manor set in Michigan.

Steve, please include links so the readers can visit you and where they can buy your book?

Readers can visit my blog site at

Currently, Breakthrough can be purchased through traditional retailers. Currently, Breakthrough is cheapest though Barnes and Noble, but can also be purchased through Amazon, Borders Books and Music, and Target.

In two days I’ll post more about Stephen Tremp’s book Breakthrough. Please drop by and learn more about this fascinating book.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where has August gone?

Wow, today is the 26th already. This month flew by it seems. It started with a scare for us. My 91-year-old father had to be taken to the hospital in Macon, GA on 31 July with his blood pressure bottoming out at 48/28. Turns out he has a "mild heart attack" from being dehydrated. He had to spend two days/nights in the hospital to be checked out. This was his first time to be hospitalized in his life! Fortunately for all, my sister Sperry lives a hour+ away in Fayetteville, GA. She rushed down to Macon & stayed with him for the next six days. Linda & I drove over on the 6th and stayed with Pop until the 17th. He has recovered nicely, and the doctor says his heart suffered no real damage. His BP has returned to his normal 115/65 range without any medication. I take two BP prescription medicines, and my BP runs in the 135/80 range. I wish I had BP like Pop does! Unfortunately, healthwise I took after my mother.

When we returned on the 17th, I was way behind with everything -- bill paying, mail, reading newspapers and magazines, Internet emails at several sites, replying to on-line reviews received, etc. Plus there have been a couple of trips to White Lightning Road to visit with Uncle Travis since we returned. I finally got caught up! I finished preparing my posts for the Yahoo VBT book tour group last night for the September 1st & 3rd postings. My guest in September will be author Stephen Tremp who published the novel Breakthrough. Y'all need to drop in then to learn all about Stephen & Breakthrough.

I finally found time to write a poem this month. Here it is, folks:

Graveside Grief

Two angels sit atop a tombstone,
looking across the cemetery’s expanse.
A man sobbing while lying prone
on a grave catches their eye by chance.

Says one to the other: “That man
is grieving hard. He must have loved
the deceased greatly. Why, you can
see the grief he feels for his beloved.”

The second angel replies, “It heals
a human to grieve. A little bit of grief
is lifted from him so that he feels
better each visit. Time will bring relief.

“During each visit that small portion
of grief removed is then left graveside.
Observe how a different proportion
of grief by each of the graves resides.

“How much each human was cherished
is reflected in the amount of grief left
graveside. You can see some perished
unloved; their death made no one bereft.

“Yet others must have been loved quite
widely, for their graves are piled high
with grief from many mourners, right
up past the tombstone toward the sky.

“It is fitting that for all eternity just how
much each human was loved easily can be
discerned by any whose ability will allow
them this accumulated graveside grief to see.”

Well, I hope to see everybody on the 1st. Please stop in!



Monday, August 3, 2009

Read about Babysitting Sugarpaw by V.S. Grenier

Today we have the pleasure of becoming familiar with Virginia S. Grenier’s new children’s book, Babysitting Sugarpaw.


A little bear named SugarPaw hopes to get rid of his babysitter, Bonnie Whiskers, by getting her into trouble after making changes to his rules chart. As the story unfolds SugarPaw learns about honesty and friendship in this fun-loving story. Babysitting SugarPaw, with its child-centered plot on getting to know others, is the perfect book for little ones scared of being left alone with a babysitter for the first time. This book will delight three-to-eight-year-old readers, especially those who like to create mischief.

Come learn more about VS Grenier and her picture book Babysitting SugarPaw at

Babysitting SugarPaw release date: July, 2009!

Order today:

Babysitting SugarPaw $13.95
ISBN: 978-1-9352-6806-2

Halo Publishing:


Stories for Children Magazine:

VS Grenier:

What others had to say about Babysitting SugarPaw:

REVIEWED BY: Wayne S. Walker, reviewer with Stories for Children Magazine

Have you ever babysat a child, and, if so, do you remember the very first time? Bonnie Whiskers has never babysat SugarPaw for the Bear family before. While standing ready to knock on the door, she hears SugarPaw cry out, "Don't Go," and it makes her worry. SugarPaw does not want a babysitter and is very unhappy. When Bonnie goes into the kitchen to see Mother Bear, she notices a rule chart for SugarPaw on the wall and thinks that maybe it won't be too hard. But when Mama Bear and Bonnie leave the kitchen, SugarPaw sneaks into the kitchen and changes some of the rules. What is going to happen? Will SugarPaws and Bonnie hit it off or not?

Anyone who has ever done babysitting will be able to empathize with Bonnie and her plight. For that matter, so will anyone who has ever been babysat! Author VS Grenier has created a tender, heartwarming story that children will enjoy having read to them and that parents will enjoy reading to them. Babysitting SugarPaw should bring back a lot of fond, and perhaps a few not-so-fond, memories for both former babysitters and former children who were babysat. After all, what would we parents do without babysitters?

REVIEWED BY: Donna Shepherd, Author of Chizzy's Topsy Tale -

In Babysitting Sugarpaw by VS Grenier, children will love to read about the mischievous antics of Sugarpaw who doesn't want to be babysat. Will Bonnie, a first-time babysitter, be able to keep Sugarpaw out of mischief until his parents return? Bonnie Whiskers finds she is up to the task, teaching Sugarpaw about patience along the way. Sweet illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier perfectly capture Bonnie's babysitting challenges.

Please check out Babysitting Sugarpaw. There must be someone you know, either child, parent, or babysitter, who’d love to be gifted with this book.



Saturday, August 1, 2009

My guest this week is author Virginia S. Grenier.

I am happy to host Virginia S. Grenier this week. I hope you enjoy reading about this children’s author and her new book, Babysitting Sugarpaw.

Let’s learn more about the author by a bit of Q & A:

Q: Congratulations on your exciting publishing announcement of your first children’s book, “Babysitting Sugarpaw,” for July 2009. “Babysitting Sugarpaw,” started out as a short story and won 15th place for Fiction in the P&E Readers Poll. What prompted you to submit further to a publisher?

VS: After I wrote SugarPaw and the Babysitter, I could see the various illustrations of this little bear creating mayhem for his babysitter. Therefore, I set to work on the picture book version of this story entitled Babysitting SugarPaw. I knew this could be a really fun story for babysitters to read when tucking in all those little pranksters to bed at night while mommy and daddy are out.

Q: Did you need to expand the story further for a picture book submission? If yes, what did you add? If no, did you always envision this particular story as a picture book?

VS: I actually ended up cutting the story up, with a lot of red ink and sleepless nights, down to the bare bones. In other words, into a picture book outline. Writing a picture book is very different from writing a short story, so it took some reworking. After seeing the guts of the story on page, I knew Babysitting SugarPaw was ready to be written as a picture book.

I had always hoped to take SugarPaw and the Babysitter and turn it into a picture book. After all, a picture inspired the story to begin with.

Q: Were you a babysitter at one time? If yes, did you incorporate any of your experiences into your story?

VS: I only babysat once for a family outside my own family that is. Man was that a total mistake for both parties. I was never cut out for babysitting being an only child until the age of fifteen. LOL. Of course, I wouldn’t say I was much better once my sister was around either. It takes a certain type of girl to be a babysitter, and I wasn’t it. I was more a tomboy growing up.

However, Babysitting SugarPaw does reflect a lot about how I was when babysat by others. Now that I’m a mom, I can relate to Bonnie Whiskers, too.

Q: When researching publishers, did you seek out at least three possibilities or did you focus solely on one publishing house?

VS: Actually, I’m a Freelance Editor for Halo Publishing; so no, I didn’t look into other publishers for Babysitting SugarPaw. However, writers should have a list of at least three publishers in mind for any book they are getting ready to submit.
But don’t think I didn’t have to go through the same process as any other writer submitting to Halo Publishing. My submission had to be reviewed by many editors before I got my acceptance. After that, it had to go through the editing process and, believe it or not, the editor cut more out of my story and tightened up a bit more. The only difference for me was I knew most of the illustrators personally and was able to work closer with the illustrator, too.

Q: From your experience, what has been the greatest obstacle you needed to overcome to achieve publication?

VS: Sitting down and finishing my book. No, really! I’m so busy with running Stories for Children Publishing and its many divisions: Stories for Children Magazine, SFC Newsletter for Writers, and SFC Blog Families Matter, that finding time to sit down . . . write . . . research publishers . . . and so on, just isn’t on my mind. But I’m glad I took the time to get Babysitting SugarPaw in the shape it needed to become a published book. Now to make the time for my other manuscripts.

Q: Please share what current works-in-progress you have in the fire.

VS: Oh, there are so many. Well besides Stories for Children Magazine, which is always a work-in-process, I have four other picture book manuscripts I’ve been working on for about a year now. I also have the first four chapters of a fantasy YA novel and an outline of another book that is more of a mystery/crime novel for teens based on true events from my high school years.

Lastly, I am currently in the process of putting together the second Best of Stories for Children anthology.

Drop back by this blog Monday to learn more about V.S. Grenier’s book, Babysitting Sugarpaw. See you then!