Book Reviews

Sarah’s Secret

Sarah’s Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgivenes by Beverly Scott, reviewed by Maurice L. Monette If you enjoy being transported to another time in U.S. history, to an unfamiliar place and culture, with people who are different from yourself, then you may like Sarah’s Secret as much as I did.  Written with sensitivity from a mother and wife’s perspective, the story immerses the reader into the arduous life of women homesteading in the prairie and desert states at the turn of the last century. The details are so vivid that they could only emerge from the mind of an author who has intimately experienced motherhood and marriage, and has carefully researched history. Particularly delightful to this lover of history are the many detailed descriptions, such as living in a dugout with no windows, surviving winter snowstorms on the plains, driving cattle to market, scraping for food and water…

Book Reviews

Dance Life

Dance Life by Lisa Alpine, reviewed by Mary Jo Rice. Lisa Alpine’s Dance Life is a colorful page turner. Whether a seasoned traveler, dancer, or neither, you will be captivated by Lisa’s daring solo adventures around the globe and her freedom connecting with fascinating locals, especially those to share her passion for dance – anywhere, any hour, any form – atop a table, on a beach, under the full moon, or occasionally under the influence. Lisa’s engrossing and enchanted tales transport me to an expansive potential within to invite the unknown and to welcome a broader scope of experience for the pure joy of living more freely and more fully. Love this book! WARNING: Read at your own risk: Spinoff symptoms may develop including intense wanderlust and an overwhelming desire to sway, gyrate, and spend the rest of your life traveling and dancing! Mary Jo Rice safeguards whales and dolphins…


Character idiosyncrasies . . . Prompt #554

How do writers develop characters? How do writers get to know their characters beyond their looks, their desires, and where they went to school? For this prompt, you can write about your main character, a supporting character, or you can write about someone you know. If you are writing about something that really happened, you can use that incident and those involved as your characters. When you write about real people, they become “characters” in your story. Here’s how it works: Interview your fictional character as a journalist would, but not at the age they are in your story. If they are older, interview a younger version of your character. If your character is young, imagine what he or she might be like as an older person. For your real-life person, have an actual interview, if you can.  If not, imagine what they were like as a child, a pre-teen,…

Guest Bloggers

Writer’s Block = Argh!

Today’s Guest Blogger is Lisa Alpine. Originally published on her blog, Lisa Alpine, Dancing Through the World of Words, Lisa shares her thoughts about how to crawl out of the swamp of writer’s block. Stuck again in the swamp of writing defeat and word avoidance even though I love writing my stories. What’s up?  I’ve been a writer for 35 years. Holy moly. Can’t I just sit down and write? Why do silly menial chores seem suddenly inviting? But I have found, once I chain myself to the blank page and force words to be birthed, with a story in mind, I thrash but the engine thrums and starts. Those dang words begin to flow. I’m ready. I’m willing. I’m psyched. The story emerges—but only after a hell-of-a struggle. And I have a method: I make an agreement with myself that I will write for one hour with no interruption. I set…


What are you afraid of? Prompt #553

Like many, I am worried about the future of America. I believe in the power of writing as a path to healing. If you are feeling overwhelmed and scared, please take a few minutes to write about your feelings. You can’t change what happened. You can change what you think. Today’s prompt is a hope and a chance for you to write about your thoughts and your feelings, as a way to start healing. For more prompts and suggestions for healing through writing, please consider reading the anthology, The Write Spot: Writing as a Path to Healing, available as a paperback and as an ereader through Amazon. Prompt: What are you afraid of?


English as a First Language

English as a First Language By Ken Delpit If I could learn a foreign language that I currently do not know all that well, I might choose English. That’s silly, you might say. You’re writing in English now. What’s to learn? This is a legitimate question. Allow me to explain. My comprehension of English is OK much of the time. I can get by. Once in a while, it may approach pretty good. In disturbingly frequent other times, though, even moderate fluency is sadly lacking on my part. For example, I would like to learn the English spoken by people whom I do not understand. Crazy as their thoughts might be when heard by my ears, I would like to hear those thoughts through theirs. Or, among everyday geniuses, when people reveal astute perspectives or brilliant insights, I would love to grasp the language that gave rise to those sparks….

Guest Bloggers


It’s so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day busyness that we forget we have an inner spiritual core that is the basic strength for everything we do. What do you do to support this core? I recently learned about Sankalpa when experiencing a guided meditation class called Yoga Nidra/iRest with my friend and meditation/yoga instructor, Rhonda Gerhard. Guest Blogger Rhonda writes: Yoga Nidra is a meditation of self-inquiry. In the beginning of this practice, we ask ourselves: What is my Sankalpa (a heartfelt desire or intention) towards healing, strength, and wholeness? We welcome our unique Inner Resources—calling up peaceful places or protective and nurturing beings—so that we can draw on our deep inner knowing and loving-kindness. With continued practice, we build our resilience. Sankalpa means an intention formed by the heart and mind—a solemn vow, determination, or will. A Sankalpa is a way to refine the will, and…