I Need Your Votes in the @AuthorsDB Cover Contest

M&M frt Verson 1

Hi, everyone.  I entered Bayou Fire in the 2017 AuthorsDB Cover Contest and we’re down to the wire.  Please visit the link by 11 PM on Monday, October 23, and cast your vote.  You do not have to log in to review or vote.


As always, my thanks to James Courtney for the jacket design, model Jason Aaron Baca, and photographer Portia Shao.


Language, Literacy, Imagination, and Reading-Aloud

I always loved it when the teacher would read to us. My mom read to me as well, and sometimes my husband still does. I think that being read to helps develop a life-long love of books in the vast majority of cases … and it’s a treat any time.

A Teacher's Reflections


People often ask why I chapter read.  After all, many of the children in my classroom are are three-years-old.  When we chapter read, the children don’t have an image from a picture book.  They have to make the pictures in their head.  That requires language development.  The more they hear, the more they learn.  Even the youngest children benefit enormously.  For example, they may not ‘get’ the humor of the goose repeating everything three times in Charlotte’s Web, but they are still getting a huge dose of language.  And, that language is sparking their imagination.  No pictures; just words pouring into eager, young minds and creating their own images.

I read picture books as well, at least twice a day.  That’s a given!  As in chapter books, we stop to ask questions.  That’s how we learn.  Remember the five W’s and the H?  Who, what, where, when, why and…

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Indie Author Day … and What I’m Not Doing

Today is Indie Author Day.  There’s an on-line Indie Fringe Festival, and many authors are doing events at their local libraries.  I had great intentions of doing just that.

And then I looked at the calendar.

I am doing CampbellCon on October 21, and Modesto ComicCon October 27-29.  I had a wedding reception last weekend.  This is, quite literally, my one “free” weekend all month, and I need to do things like buy groceries and have the oil changed in my car.  So, doing a library event went out the window.  (Which reminds me, I have books to return as I make my rounds.)


That’s okay, though. What I am doing is working on a new story, Ghosts of Whitehaven, for the forthcoming collection.  I got a bit of a start on it yesterday, and hope to finish it up today.

What can you do for Indie Author Day?  Buy a book from one of us (you’ll find mine here).  Write a review and post it to your favorite site or your blog.

And, of course, please know that you are appreciated by this proud indie author.

Yet Another Different “Blast from the Past”

You may remember this post from earlier in the year, where I shared the back sleeve photo from a 45 RPM record by Jon Gon?  I was their publicist in the late 1980s.  Well, I got to thinking about the guy who was their manager.  His name was Martin David Clemson; you’ll see him listed on the photo, too.  Through the magic of the internet, I decided to look him up.

Now, in fairness it must be said that Martin and I were both in the running to manage the band.  The group was so torn about the decision that I offered to serve as publicist to make it easier on them.  Martin obviously felt pretty insecure about the matter, and he undermined me with the band several times.  We also failed to see eye to eye about professional matters on more than one occasion.

Even with all of that, he had enormous potential as a music industry professional.  That’s why I was so disappointed to discover his obituary, stating that he had succumbed to complications of addiction in June 2010.  It made me rather sad, despite our frequently unpleasant mutual history in the music business.


Weekend Reads: “Yellow Jack”

Yellow JackYellow Jack by Josh Russell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First things first: the daguerreotypes referred to in the text of this book are entirely fictional (I suppose the fact that there are no actual plates to go with the plate numbers should have been a clue, but I presumed it was a decision made for the eBook edition of the novel). This bugged the hell out of me, to be honest, because the story is interspersed with these allegedly scholarly discussions of the subject matter that sent me looking for more information. That’s time I’ll never get back again.

Now, maybe you think this is a selling point … and maybe it is. The author has so cleverly convinced the reader of scholarship that at least one person went haring off to learn more. Instead, I found that it pulled me right out of the story.

And what a story it is. Claude Marchand steals his mentor’s equipment and his friend’s name … and leaves Paris for New Orleans to become a daguerreotypist or, as he calls himself, a soliotypist. He has a free woman of color as a mistress, and is something of a libertine.

He becomes obsessed with Vivian, whose picture he first takes when she is an 8-year-old child … and follows her life story from the fringes throughout the entire book. The obsession begins when he hears she has succumbed to the titular “yellow jack,” as yellow fever was sometimes called … and then survives a disease that kills many.

This is a story about civil rights, the roles of women, the history of photography, and the history of New Orleans from a medical perspective. It’s well told and the characters are engaging. Still, the faux scholarship in between chapters served solely to jerk me out of the story and make it hard to get back in. You’ve been warned.

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