the wisdom of ee cummings

thought for the weekend – or really whenever you feel like thinking….

❤ Annie

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Indie Spotlight on YA Author Piper Templeton

Rain Clouds and Waterfalls, is a coming-of-age novel told in linked short stories, with each story/chapter named for a Beatles song, that sets the theme of the chapter.  NOW AVAILABLE as an audio book as well.  You can get Rain Clouds and Waterfalls at Amazon and Audible.

The Beatles – Timeless Icons Who Influence Pop Culture Across Multiple Generations

The Beatles continue to influence pop culture as their music inspires and delights multiple generations.   I’ve been a witness to this phenomenon as I’ve seen three generations of families soaking up the unadulterated joy experienced at Paul McCartney concerts.  Their songs are part of our broad pop culture, and they also serve a more intimate purpose to many individuals:  The songs deliver comfort, wisdom, poignancy, and lots of smiles at the memories they invoke.

Their songs are embedded in our collective conscious and plant themselves into ordinary, everyday facets of our lives.  I pass a street sign every evening on my commute home from work named Blue Jay Way.  I often see salads on menus named Strawberry Fields. I have a container of popcorn sitting on my desk right now that I ordered from a Youth Group fundraiser.  The name of the popcorn?  Sergeant Salt & Pepper.

The Beatles have been a recurring presence in movies, whether through dialog, one of their songs playing, or actual footage. As a very recent example, in Twin Peaks:  The Return that recently aired, one character starts telling his work buddy about a dream.  After he recaps his dream, he starts telling the other that he woke up, and then he recites the middle part of “A Day in The Life”  “Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head, found my way downstairs…”  The characters give each other a knowing grin.  In Boyhood, there’s a great scene where the dad makes his son a composite of Beatle solo songs that he calls “The Black Album” and walks his son through the rhyme and reason of it all.

Beatles songs play in the background of many films.  One of my favorite examples is the unforgettable parade scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.   Who can forget Ferris dancing away on a float to “Twist and Shout”?  In a somber example, the use of John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the end of The Killing Fields seared our memories and hit the perfect emotional note.

 

How could Forrest Gump guide us through the 1960s and 1970s without bumping into a Beatle?  I love the scene of the old Dick Cavett footage in which Forrest is superimposed over Yoko One, and he finds himself seated next to none other than John Lennon.  Through Q&A with the host, he then inadvertently inspires the lyrics to “Imagine.”  It’s priceless!

You can check out a detailed, lengthy montage of Beatles references in film from the SgtPepperChannel on You Tube.

On a more personal, intimate level, I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I’ve found that many of their songs function as a Greek chorus to my life.  “Take a sad song and make it better” from “Hey Judge” automatically plays in my head when I’m going through a difficult time.  One day I was driving to work after experiencing a crushing loss.  Weeks had passed since the ordeal, but when alone, I could not get past the crying part of the grief.  I would think about the loss, and the tears would surface.  One morning as the tears started filling my eyes, “All Things Must Pass” came on the radio, as if in direct response to my personal grief.  It helped put matters in perspective and offered me a handle on my grief.

When I think I’ve got my day and week all planned out, and chaos instead ensues, I hear John Lennon’s lyric from “Beautiful Boy” floating through my head:  “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”   When life deals blows that seem to come crushing down on me, I hear my Greek chorus again:  “Bang, bang Maxwell’s Silver Hammer came down upon her head.”

The Beatles’ music has always been playing along either in the foreground or deep in the background as I journeyed through life.

BIO: Piper Templeton lives and works in the New Orleans area. A Liberal Arts graduate from the University of New Orleans, she loves writing fiction that mines beneath the surface of seemingly ordinary people’s lives. She combines her love of children and books by tutoring second graders in reading.

Other passions include animals, music, nature, long walks, and good laughs.

She developed a love for writing fiction in childhood and forayed into self-publishing in 2014 with her Beatles-inspired novel, Rain Clouds and Waterfalls. If you’d like to know more about Piper you can visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indie Spotlight on Historical Romance Author, Kirk Raeber

A trove of forgotten letters reveals a love that defied a world war.

In 1924, eight-year old Robert Campbell accompanies his missionary parents to Japan where he befriends a young Makiko Asakawa. Robert enjoys his life there, but the dark tides of war are rising, and it won’t be long before foreigners are forced to leave Japan. Torn from the people Robert has come to think of as family, he stays in contact by exchanging letters with Makiko, letters that soon show their relationship is blossoming into something much more than friendship. The outbreak of total war sweeps all before it, and when correspondence ends with no explanation, Robert fears the worst. He will do anything to find Makiko, even launch himself headfirst into a conflict that is consuming the world. Turmoil and tragedy threaten his every step, but no risk is too great to prove that love conquers all. Forgotten Letters is published by Honey Rock View Publishing and available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Audible

From a Dream, Comes a Novel…

The inspiration for “Forgotten Letters” came to me ten years ago in the form of a dream so vivid that I began to see it as the starting point for the story portrayed in Forgotten Letters. The dream began with an earthquake in the early 1900’s somewhere in Japan. My most vivid memory from the dream was not so much the destruction, which was devastating, but the strength and courage of the Japanese people in resurrecting their lives in the face of such tragedy.

Over the years, I have researched the many earthquakes that are a regular occurrence across the Japanese Islands. The “Great Kanto” of 1923 seemed to best mimic the earthquake from my dream, in particular the unstoppable fires that destroyed most of Tokyo and Yokohama. This is where my story begins.

Ironically, the two cities were again destroyed during World War II and, as they were after the “Great Kanto,” have been rebuilt by the dedicated, hard working people of that amazing country.

The story starts with Fumiko and Ichiro entering their recently deceased parent’s house.  They enter the house with thoughts of childhood memories and what to do with the dilapidated home.  Fumiko and Ichiro are both dealing with personal problems that seem to consume most of their thoughts as they wander through the house.

Ichiro finds a trapdoor to the attic and enters a dark and dusty area that has not been visited for years.  They look around the room and see old furniture and trash.  Ichiro pulls out a military footlocker with his father’s name printed on the outside.  Ichiro states “This was Dads”.  Ichiro has some difficulty opening the footlocker but is finally successful.  Inside he finds an old World War II officer’s uniform and a precisely folded cream and red colored kimono.

Underneath the two garments they discover a box which is wrapped in red foil and secured with a white ribbon that is squashed flat.  Fumiko and Ichiro look at each other thinking what secrets are in this special box.  Ichiro unties the ribbon, unfolds the paper and removes the lid.  Inside the box lie rows of letters, yellowed and stained.  The letters are in random order the earliest postmark is 1931.  The letters are correspondence between their parents.  Fumiko opens a letter postmarked 1931 and reads aloud “Dear Robert”.

When you read Forgotten Letters, remember three words from the beginning of the book and then are revisited later on.  I think the reader will smile when they read these words again.  The three words are spider, baseball and birthmark.

My sincere hope is that you will find Forgotten Letters an enjoyable read.

Bio: Kirk Raeber is an emergency room physician. He has always had a strong interest in World War II history and especially in the war in the Pacific. He served in the US Navy and was stationed in Japan for one year. Forgotten Letters is his debut novel. He lives in California with his wife and three Anatolian Shepherds. If you’d like to know more about Kirk and his books, you can visit his website: http://www.theforgottenletters.com, and/or follow him on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Forgotten-Letters-814455975239863/  and Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomkirkraeber

 

Indie Spotlight, YA Author TE Carter

Bruno Guenard / BIOSPHOTO

I STOP SOMEWHERE (releasing 2/27/18) available for pre-order in the US and UK

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

TE Carter’s stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture, but it makes you slow down and think about what it is to be human.

Telling contemporary stories that focus on crime

As a reader, one of my favorite genres is crime fiction and mystery. I’m a huge fan of Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins, but also of traditional mysteries like those by Agatha Christie. This extends a bit into my personal life as well, as I’ve always been drawn to dark stories and crime shows on television.

When I started writing, I knew I wanted to write something that I would like to read, but for some reason, I found that writing mystery, crime fiction, and horror – despite being some of my favorite genres – didn’t come naturally to me. Instead, I began delving into contemporary fiction, which I also love. As I started writing, though, I also noticed that my reading preferences found a weird way of looping themselves into the contemporary stories I was telling. In a way, I was creating a mashup of genres I loved and telling contemporary stories that focused on crime.

My debut YA novel, I STOP SOMEWHERE is a contemporary novel at its heart. It’s about the world we live in and the things that happen to young women unfortunately. It’s also a story of a crime, but told in a different way. Instead of being about the crime itself, it’s about the reverberating effects of a crime on the people who experienced it. Ellie, the protagonist, is viciously assaulted and the story mainly focuses on her, but it also shows how this attack reaches her father, the detectives investigating the crime, other victims of the same perpetrators (as well as other victims of sexual assault not necessarily connected to the same parties), and even the reporter assigned to cover this case.

From I STOP SOMEWHERE, I continued writing in this mashup genre that one of my critique partners called a form of introspective crime fiction. My second title, releasing in 2019, is also about a crime, but it’s about a girl whose brother commits a heinous act and how his actions affect her. We frequently see stories in the news and we have a morbid fascination with dark crimes, but on the periphery of that, there’s an entire group of people affected on a daily basis by these things – well beyond the criminals and the victims themselves. In this novel, the story follows her coming of age in a world where anyone who gets a hint of her brother’s actions tries to define who she is because of him. It’s about the assumptions we make about people, as well as how we play a role in each other’s experiences.

This has grown to be an area where I enjoy writing. I like considering how actions echo and how people you forget in the storm of a murder trial, for example, live each day with that hovering over them. It’s not necessarily the same focus on the inner workings of a criminal’s mind or on the criminal procedures to track a murderer, but instead, it’s on the realistic and contemporary effects of crime on regular people. I like the label of introspective crime fiction, because crime drama is often more of a public spectacle. We don’t necessarily take the time to consider the inner conflicts and emotional turmoil it may have in real life, partly because crime fiction and mystery are still forms of escapism. I have enjoyed taking a realistic lens to these news stories and considering the questions we usually don’t ask. I think it’s given me a chance to mesh the genres I love with my own writing style and to create something new. I hope readers agree!

TE Carter was born in New England and has pretty much lived in New England her entire life (minus a few years in high school). She still lives in New England with her husband and their two cats. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found reading classic literature, playing Xbox, organizing her comic collection, or binge-watching baking competitions. If you’d like to know more about TE you can visit her website follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Indie Spotlight Gothic Horror & Non-Fiction Author – Julie Ann Greenawalt Hacker

What Scares YOU!?

 

Someone recently asked, “As a spiritual-metaphysical-mystical author and life coach… …what scares you?

What I’ve noticed in life, is that many people freeze in the name of FEAR. I’m not referring to your everyday type of fear like the fear of death, or car accidents, or getting sick, spiders, or the dark, not phobias or catastrophic type of fears (these nemeses we’re born into and they appear on the outside of who we are in a physical sense); but un-explainable fears hidden in the deep wells of our sub-conscious—you know, that subtle torture you don’t even know about because it creeps up on you like a soft teddy bear in the night. And suddenly, when you finally wake from your deep slumber, you realize you’re snoozing alongside an angry, ravenous black bear.

  • This bear doesn’t care that you’ve ignored the deepest parts of you. He just wants to eat your fears as they pulse inside your body.
  • He wants you to be unaware of those dark crevasses so he can continue to feed, day-after-day, year-after-year; perhaps life-after-life. And, if you can picture your very own ‘Self’ or soul being an endless supply for the angry black bear because of the unwitting ways this world teaches us to survive and live…yeah, it can get pretty intense.
  • Now multiply that fear by billions of people and you’ll get the idea.
  • But yet, we still walk around everyday either ignoring it or not being able to identify why something is “off.” This is the hidden fear.

Unidentified, this silent enemy caresses the soul deep inside and lulls us into an obscure manipulation of what we call reality. These fears creep out all over the place without our acknowledgement.

Now, picture that nasty black bear as another human being. FEAR of succumbing to the belief that another being, whether human or otherwise, would willingly suck the soul right out of your mind and body, if left to do so, is pretty scary. (This is one of the few things that used to scare the hell out of me.) And I believe these are our most ultimate questions:

Why does this happen?

What is doing it?

And how do we stop it?

The process used by these people or unidentified forces can be very clever, unless you learn what to look for.

I know, I know. This all sounds a little esoteric and whoo hoo. But, when you take the time to inspect it, I mean, get really close to it, and someone can guide you there so you’re not all alone, the sting of fear diminishes.

The headlines of my own life drove me to contemplate those very questions. And, what I found out about myself and the world blew my mind.

This is why I write Gothic horror, non-fiction/self-help, blog, and coach people just like any one reading this who can’t identify the reasons why they’re stuck in life keeping them from Stalking their own life PATH!

So, my ultimate message for this post is:

You exist in time, but you belong in eternity’s loveliness. Find the fearful secrets that keep you from being free, then, don’t be afraid of releasing them, they’re not your friends, and allow them to disintegrate forever.

Best in all your Re-WILDing & Path STALKing,

Julie Ann

!!BIG HUGS & THANK YOUs to my dear friend ANITA RODGERS for giving me this opportunity to guest post on her blog!!

If you’d like to know more about Julie Ann, her books, or her Wild Beautiful You movement connect with her on her website and facebook.

Free gifts for you!

As a special thank you to my readers, Julie Ann is offering a free PDF copy of Re-WILD Your ‘SELF’ & Stalk Your PATH! web-book, which you can get by signing up at her website.

And a free PDF copy of The Dead Dance Faster: Unsacred Awakening her awesome scary Gothic-horror novel, which you can get by emailing her at: julieann@wildbeautifulyou.com  (or by contacting her me via WBY!’s contact form on the site).

September 11th – 16th anniversary

I think that most Americans (even those who were very young at the time) remember September 11, 2001. It’s so easy to remember for me, that I can’t believe it’s been 16 years.

Over the years there have been many schools of thought on what ‘really happened.” However, that is not my focus. My focus is on the thousands of Americans who lost their lives that day.

Those Americans were father, mothers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, grandparents, friends, co-workers and more. They matter.

Following is a list of tributes I have written for people who lost their lives on that day. I post these tributes for the families and friends and for those of us who choose not to forget.

“I Remember Steve Mercado” 

“I remember Deborah Medwig”

“I Remember Paul Lisson – a 9/11 Tribute”

“I Remember Bruce “Chappy” Boehm – a 9/11 Tribute” 

“I Remember Peggy Hurt”

“I remember Craig Amundson – a 911 tribute”

“I Remember Ted Moy”

 

PS: Like many, I have friends and family directly in the path of Hurricane Irma. I pray for them and everyone potentially in danger. Please say a prayer for us all.

Annie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY LABOR DAY – LET’S HAVE A PICNIC..OR SOMETHING…

It’s sad I suppose that summer is on its way out and well Labor Day is the punctuation mark that heralds the end of the season.

Did you know that in a galaxy long ago and far far away that there was this rule that you mustn’t wear white after Labor Day?

So what’s on the menu for your Labor Day picnic – fried chicken, two maybe three kinds of potato salad, sandwiches and lemonade? In that case, these recipes are sure to please.

And don’t forget the cocktails

If  you’re planning to stay home and do some serious binge watching on Netflix or Amazon Prime, check out Ray Donovan, Bosch, Luther, Gilmore Girls Reboot, House of Cards, The Man in the High Castle, all the Star Trek iterations and more…

If you want to get out and about and live in the L.A. area check out the top weekend events, fairs, festivals, fun in the sun and lots of eats

Or just stay home in your jim-jams and read a good mystery

Whatever you plan to do or not do as the case may be – be well, be happy, and be safe.

And say a little prayer for our firefighters out here in CA, presently working 24/7 to knock down the La Tuna Canyon fires – and our friends struggling with the havoc of Hurricane Harvey.

 

Annie

Which Story Would You Want to Read? (and some fun news)

After I complete the trilogy, I’ve decided I’m going to delve into some short fiction and at present have three ideas for stories. Below is the first (few) lines for each story. Would you do me a BIG favor and just let me know which story you would want to read based on those lines? I would really appreciate your input.

Story idea #1

“The truth was that I thought about killing him in his sleep every night—it’s just that somebody else beat me to it.”

Story idea #2

“Suddenly, I was her. The woman who could turn cold at the snap of a finger. Now my rage would do the talking. No more Ms. door mat. That. Was. Over. My need to kill consumed me.”

Story idea #3

“On his way to pick up Angel, Jesus stabbed Jack to death.”

You can tell me your choice in the comments below – and any thoughts you may have had about them as well, if you like.

And now for the FUN news…

I’m very excited to announce my book was just nominated for the 2017 Readers Choice Awards! If you would like to do me the honor of voting for it, you can do so here: https://www.tckpublishing.com/readers-choice-voting 

Just look for the slider for the various categories and find the Mysteries section.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.

Have a lovely and creative weekend.

Annie

Indie Spotlight on Biographer Elva Green -My Writing Journey as My Father’s Biographer

Today, we welcome biographer Elva Diane Green, who discusses writing a biography of her entertainment pioneer father, Eddie Green who was an actor, playwright, singer, dancer and all around performer – in short, a real Renaissance Man.

Note from the author: “In 2014 I started a blog to chronicle the writing of a book about my father, Eddie Green. First blog. First book. First laptop. Because according to the internet when writing a book I needed a “platform”. I needed a “following.” I needed to get the right publisher, and learn how to write a query letter. After spending too much time agonizing over what was what, I just gathered all of my papers and started writing. On the blog I began at the beginning, adding anecdotes and photos and funny pictures from Google’s advanced image search, and along with the blog I also began writing my book.”

Take it away Elva!

My Writing Journey as My Father’s Biographer

I decided to write the book in 1996. My father was famous. But my reason for writing the book was not because of his fame but because of the inspiration his story could provide for my grandson. As a child, my grandson was convinced of his inability to complete homework assignments. His words were always “I can’t.” I figured I could provide inspiration for him by writing a book about his great-grandfather who had become successful during the early 1900s. The inspiring part was evident in that Eddie was a Black man, and in those early days in America just to survive was a struggle for Black men.

While working on this book I came to realize that it could inspire not just my grandson Edward, but other young people like him. It could inspire anyone, actually, who felt an inability to succeed or who had run into obstacles while trying to achieve their goals. The title of the book became Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. It is a rags-to-riches story of a man who became a filmmaker, a Broadway and movie star, a composer, and an Old Time Radio icon. His career spanned the years from 1917 until his death in 1950. As an entrepreneur he was a music producer, he owned a string of restaurants and headed two movie and television studios, Sepia Art Pictures Co. and Sepia Productions, Inc.

I was only three when Eddie died and my memories of him are vague. My mother, Norma, told me about some of his achievements. I say some because I did not find out about the restaurants (and a few other things, which I will get to further down) until 2015. She told me he became famous as a result of being cast as Eddie, the waiter in the popular, long-running radio program Duffy’s Tavern. That he had also played the lawyer, LaGuardia “Stonewall” Jackson, in the Amos ‘n’ Andy radio program. When I was eight years old she allowed me to stay up late one night to watch the Paramount movie Duffy’s Tavern (1945), because Eddie had been chosen to portray his radio character, Eddie, the waiter, in the movie.

Mom also told me that in 1917 Eddie wrote his most famous song “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and that Frank Sinatra had recorded the song. She did not tell me of the fifty or more other folks who had recorded the song. I was told that Eddie had performed on stage in a theater production where he sang “Titwillow”: “On a tree by a river a little tom-tit, Sang “Willow, titwillow, titwillow!” What I was not told is that the song was from the theater adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. The adaptation was produced by Mike Todd and titled the Hot Mikado and featured an all-Black cast starring Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Eddie played the part of KoKo, the High Executioner. I learned this in 2015 which is also when I learned that the show was performed on Broadway and at the 1939-1940 NY World’s Fair. For a brief glimpse of the performance it can be seen on YouTube.

Anyhow, my mother and I began the process of writing the book. As I began research in the old newspaper archives, I kept finding more and more information which led to more and more research, that began to make for a lengthy process. Life stepped in and that process became delayed. I lost a job, went back to school and in 2006 mom’s health began to fail and I put the book aside. After mom passed I decided to put both feet into getting the book done as a way to handle my grief. The thing was, once I got back into the research I found still more information. Surprising information. I was flabbergasted. I couldn’t begin the writing process because I could not stop reading all the newspaper clippings about my father.

Imagine my surprise as I discovered that my mom was Eddie’s fourth wife. When I discovered that Eddie had worked the Apollo. When I discovered he made five movies not just one. I discovered that he worked with Paul Robeson on a radio show for Commander Byrd in the Antarctic. That he appeared on Jubilee radio shows for the United States service members during WWII. And that one of the radio skits was about Santa Claus bringing Private Eddie Green a Lena Horne doll as a Christmas present (the doll turned out to be the real Lena Horne.) There was much, much more. Remarkable.

I began to realize that Eddie had been “somebody.” Just like Lena or Robeson or Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. I also began to realize that if I mentioned “Bojangles” people knew who he was. If I mentioned Lena, people knew who she was. Not so when I mentioned Eddie Green. It was as if Eddie had simply vanished from the picture. And so my intent for this book expanded to include the mission of bringing my father’s name back to the fore of the public’s memory and to honor his vast amount of work.

Well, the book was published in 2016. I have been named the winner of the Foreword INDIES 2016 Bronze Book Award. I have just completed an interview with the National Public Radio (NPR) which will soon be available (I am told an author would give one of their molars for a chance like this). Thanks to my blog, this has been one experience that has kept my spirits up.

Anita, thank you for being a friend, a part of my mission and for asking me to guest post.

BIO: Elva Diane Green was born in and continues to live in Los Angeles, California. In 1996 she decided to write a book about her father, the legendary Eddie Green, to provide an example to her grandson of the ability of a person to succeed no matter the obstacles. Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer is the culmination of her extensive research into a book that draws the reader into the story of one of America’s most beloved comedians. Elva has been named the Foreword INDIES 2016 Bronze Book Award Winner. If you’d like to connect with Elva you can visit her blog, Pin in the Tush, follow her on Twitter, or Facebook.

 

 

Happy National Dog Day

Not to be confused with National Mutt Day (confusing, yes?) Of course, I love dogs so much that we could have a dog holiday every day and I’d be fine with that. How about National Dog Treat Day? National Big Dog Day? National Dog Grooming Day? National Doggie Barking at the TV Day? (Okay, my dog loves to bark at the TV, especially when there is a dog on the show. She has still yet to figure out that dogs on TV are not real.)

For those among you with fur babies of the canine variety, a few resources that you might find handy:

For dog owners with kids

Free Animal Health Resources Web Sites

Dog’s health, behavior, care, training and socialization

National organizations that provide financial assistance to pet owners in need

National Lost and Found Pet Database

Free doggie pics

And finally a video of dogs being dogs…

Treasure your pets because they treasure you.

And please pray for my friend Ruthie that she finds her beloved Gilbert.

Annie ❤