Tuesday, August 29, 2023

What Are You Reading? by Kathleen Cook


I love Pat Conroy; as one reviewer put it: “Few writers write as well, but none as beautifully.” He has a way of making everything so real, so earthy, so gut-wrenchingly emotional. You always finish the book with a sense that you’ve been part of something special, and that in some small way, you understand humanity just a little bit more than you did before reading his work.

 South of Broad is one such example. Set in Charleston, South Carolina, against the backdrop of high school romance, murder, suicide, Hurricane Camille, loss of loved ones and sexual predators, the book enfolds you in a lifelong friendship from High School through later years. The bond between this group of friends remains strong throughout the decades, with each one willing to sacrifice, in adulthood, to find one of their childhood friends. A lost lamb riddled with AIDS, they hope to bring him back to die in his Charleston home surrounded by love.

The author obviously knows Charleston very well. As someone who lived as a teen in the Carolinas, I can relate to the sights, sounds and smells and attest to their authenticity. South of Broad is hilariously funny, painfully heartbreaking, an upper and a downer all wrapped into one. In the end, however, you can’t help but believe that the world is a beautiful place because there are still good people in it, friends who will love you forever no matter your sins.

Kathleen Cook is the Arizona Authors Association Editor as well as its Website Administrator.  

Thursday, August 24, 2023

New Release: Rescue Ranch Rising by Haidi M. Thomas


Find it on Amazon HERE

Samantha Moser rescues horses…horses with the power to heal. She’ helps troubled teens and veterans with severe PTSD through her passion and her equine friends. Harsh Montana winters, abandonment by her fiance, in addition to limited finances, dishonest contractors, and a disastrous barn fire turn her dream of a healing center to ashes.

When the man she loves doesn’t appear to share her feelings, she’s left to overcome a mountain of doubt and fear alone.
Once again, Samantha is at a crossroads in her life. Can she reignite her romance while resurrecting her dream from ashes, or will she have to choose between them?

About the author, Heidi M. Thomas: 

Raised on a ranch in isolated eastern Montana, Heidi Thomas has had a penchant for reading and writing since she was a child. Armed with a degree in journalism from the University of Montana, she worked for the Daily Missoulian newspaper, and has had numerous magazine articles published.

A tidbit of family history, that her grandmother rode steers in rodeos during the 1920s and 30s, spurred Heidi to write three award-winning novels based on that grandmother's life: Cowgirl Dreams, Follow the Dream, and Dare to Dream. She also has published a non-fiction book, Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women. Seeking the American Dream and Finding True Home are based on her mother who emigrated from Germany after WWII. A new series following the next generation of the Moser family begins with Rescuing Samantha and the sequel Rescuing Hope.

Heidi is a freelance editor, teaches community writing classes, and is working on the next book in her "Rescue" series.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

New Release: At What Cost, Silence?: The Texian Trilogy, Book 1 - by Karen Lynne Klink


Find it on Amazon HERE

Adrien Villere suspects he is not like other boys. For years, he desperately locks away his feelings and fears—but eventually, tragedy and loss drive him to seeking solace from his mentor, a young neighbor Jacob Hart. Jacob’s betrayal of Adrien’s trust, however, results in secret abuse, setting off a chain of actions from which neither Adrien’s wise sister, Bernadette, nor his closest friend, Isaac, can turn him.

At What Cost, Silence presents two contrasting plantation families in a society where strict rules of belief and behavior are clear, and public opinion can shape an entire life. Centerstage are the Villeres, a family less brutal than the Harts, but no less divisive. Often-absent Papa Paien Villere guards several secrets he has kept from everyone—including one which could destroy his entire family. Years after Jacob’s betrayal, Adrien falls hopelessly in love with his former mentor’s erotically precocious and beautiful young sister Lily—whose father has affianced her to a wealthy older man.

What will happen if Lily’s violent brother learns of Adrien and Lily’s clandestine affair? Will Adrien aid in freeing Isaac―an enslaved Black man―as promised? Will Bernadette find the unconventional life she seeks? Or will their entire world end as states secede and war creeps ever closer?


“Klink has written a rousing chorus of a novel, creating an intricate song of life in antebellum Southeast Texas. At What Cost, Silence?  tackles complex questions related to power, enslavement, and the legacy of violence. . . . There is a yearning that burns bright in all the characters and propels the story forward at an engaging pace.”
—Kate Anger, author of The Shinnery

At What Cost, Silence is a family saga that transforms the way we see the past, turning over little-known stones of history by focusing on the antebellum world of East Texas. This is both an epic novel spanning decades of history, culture and politics, and an intimate, passionate tale of love and morality, rooted deeply in the contradictions and complexities of its many characters. Klink has captured it all with great care and compassion and understanding.” 

—Molly Gloss, author of The Hearts of Horses

"Karen Lynne Klink’s At What Cost, Silence? oozes with deep southern charm and boiling point angst as she breathes life into a colorful cast of mid-19th century Texans on the cusp of the Civil War. Her descriptive language, lively dialogue, and swift pacing enhance this multi-faceted narrative. An impressive debut!”
—Ashley E. Sweeney, award-winning author of Hardland

About the author:

Karen began reading before entering first grade and began her career drawing imaginative adventures in the margins of schoolwork which, unfortunately, few teachers appreciated. 

After completing her formal education at Kent State University and San Diego State, her love of nature sent Karen to wandering the U.S. west and parts of Mexico and Central America hiking and backpacking before settling in Tucson, Arizona, with her cat buddy Dickens. Although she enjoyed minor success as a watercolor painter, she discovered her true passion when she began writing fiction at the age of sixty. Her interest and experience in psychology and therapy inform her writing about individuals who persevere through difficulty and crisis in order to become stronger and accept themselves for who they truly are. Karen is a child abuse survivor, and humbly hopes her stories give readers pleasure and confidence to face their own difficulties, knowing they are not alone. 

Karen believes in taking risks, for this is how we grow. With over fifty years of overcoming her own fears and challenges she hopes to help others find their own true selves, to not only survive, but to thrive.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Arizona heat... not a joke - by Vijaya Schartz


Sizzling summers are the norm in Phoenix, Arizona. This year, however, we are setting new records. We have been named the hottest place on Earth, with the highest consistent heat records in night and day temperatures, going for over three weeks now.

I remember being amazed as a newcomer to the Valley of the Sun, when people actually fried eggs on the sidewalk to prove their point. The excuse of “but it’s a dry heat” didn’t seem to matter then. Yet, it was child’s play compared to what we are experiencing this July.

My cell phone keeps running out of juice. At first, I thought it was the phone, then I learned it’s only the heat. Part of normal life in Phoenix Arizona.

This year, both ABC15 News and Channel 12 experimented with cooking a pizza on the dashboard of a car parked in the sun. It took four hours, but these pizzas were thoroughly cooked. I don’t want to think of how the inside of the cars will smell for weeks to come.

But besides the funny experiments, the heat is no joke. Over the last three weeks, 18 people have died from the heat… another record. The mountain trails are closed, public services are distributing cold water on the streets. The many homeless souls living in tents on the sidewalk are being evacuated to air-conditioned centers, but many refuse to leave their tents.

Several fans waiting in line for a concert at the stadium had to be treated for heat exhaustion. Their phone batteries overheated and drained from the heat. Some clever concert goers kept their phones in the cooler with the ice to avoid drainage. And the stadium allowed them to bring sealed bottles of water inside.

We are eagerly waiting for the monsoon rain, praying that it will come and cool things out a bit. But be careful what you wish for. With the violent monsoon storms come the power outages, the floods and the mud, and the cars carried away by the current.

Yes, this is a bus, swept away by Arizona monsoon flood (courtesy of ABC NEWS)

Did you know that in Arizona we have a stupid motorist law? It’s true. That’s its official name. It states that you should not cross a flooded stretch of road. And if you do, you are subjected to a steep fine. The reason is that the water is always much deeper than it looks, and a car can be carried away by the current in six inches of water. Many have lost their lives in such accidents, yet, still some drivers are stupid enough to take their chances.

Stupid motorist law - Courtesy of 12NEWS.com

But for now, we just want relief from the sweltering sun.

Stay cool out there. Stay indoors with the AC, grab a book, and escape to cooler places, like space. Find all my books at these venues: amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo 

Happy Reading.

Vijaya Schartz, award-winning author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats
amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo FB

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Nurse Florence®, What is Atrial Fibrillation? by Michael Dow


Find it on Amazon HERE

Sometimes it seems only a nurse can bring technical information down to an understanding that an ordinary person can grasp. The Nurse Florence® book series provides high quality medical information that even a child can grasp. By introducing young kids to correct terminology and science concepts at an early age, we can help increase our children’s health literacy level as well as help to prepare them for courses and jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We need more scientists so I hope that many children will enjoy this book series and consider a job involving science. Introducing Some Medical Words to Kids in Every Book

Monday, August 7, 2023

Three Punctuation Errors That Plague Me - By Jennifer Wren


I’ve just spent hours doing tedious global “Find and Replace” searches to correct several punctuation errors that continue to torment me. I look up these same rules on average about once a year and then find myself making the same mistakes over and over. I am hoping that looking them up yet again and writing them down here for you will finally cement them in my brain!

1. SINGLE SPACES BETWEEN SENTENCES: My son, who teaches writing at a university in New York City, admonishes, “Mom, the use of two spaces at the end of a sentence is archaic.” Oh gee, now I’m not only old, I’m archaic! Here is the RULE: after a period, question mark, exclamation mark, quotation mark, or ellipsis (anything that signifies the end of a sentence) USE ONLY A SINGLE SPACE, not two as you may have been taught in typing class. In fact, if you use two spaces it automatically dates you as having learned to type on a typewriter prior to the advent of computerized word processing. Yes, I am that old. [Hint: To autocorrect these, do a “search and replace.” In the search bar, type a period followed by two spaces, and in the replace bar, type a period with one space. Repeat this process using a question mark, exclamation mark, quotation mark and ellipsis.]

2. LOWER CASE DIALOGUE TAG: You can find people who argue this until their faces turn red and their hands curl into fists, but the rule nevertheless is a RULE: After a dialogue fragment OR sentence, start the tag with a LOWER CASE LETTER (unless it starts with a proper name). Example: “That’s a bunch of crap,” he said. I’ve even had MS Word autocorrect and put in a capital, so I go back to the Internet and confirm: use a lowercase! BTW, periods always go INSIDE the quotation marks and most often, commas do as well. Semicolons and colons are never placed inside quotation marks unless they are part of the direct quote.

Remember, if dialogue ends in a period but has a dialogue tag added, switch to a comma. Check the example: “That’s a bunch of crap.” he said. You’ll note that this is incorrect because the dialogue ends in a period with a tag added. Switch to a comma as shown in the previous paragraph. However, look at the following example: “That’s a bunch of crap!” he said. This is correct. Don’t you just love English?

3. PUNCTUATING AN ELLIPSIS: If you want to indicate a pause, pregnant or otherwise, you may use an ellipsis. RULE: It depends. In most fiction, an ellipsis is THREE dots in a row, no spaces between, with spaces before the ellipsis and after it. The last space is eliminated if the ellipsis ends at a quotation mark. Example: “But I thought …” You can see a space before the ellipsis but not after, since it ends at a quotation mark. Take another example: “But I thought … you knew.” In this case, there is a space both before and after the ellipsis, but no spaces between. (Note that if you added a dialogue tag to that quote, you’d switch the period after “knew” to a comma.) In nonfiction and formal writing, you may see ellipses written with spaces before, between, and after them. They are still three dots (although in certain circumstances there may be a period before or after the ellipsis, which makes it look as if it has four dots). Everyone warns against overusing this handy little device, as it becomes very tiresome for a reader to see that a character, or worse, all the characters can’t seem to speak in a full sentence! Example: “I … don’t know … maybe … it’s just that I … you know ...”

I hope this helps some of you and if you want to argue with me, that’s okay too. Maybe I’m still getting it wrong, but I tried to find at least 3 sources to confirm each rule above.

Arizona Authors Association member Jenny Wrenn lives in the Canelo Hills of Arizona in the borderlands with Mexico. She writes speculative fiction, paranormal romance, and poetry. With degrees in zoology and medicine, Jenny has always lived an outdoor lifestyle full of adventure, with a fascination for the natural world. All of these flavor her writing. While she hasn’t yet published her novels, she admits to having “four or five sitting in my computer.” The Association looks forward to their future release.