Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Costuming--It's Not Just for Halloween Anymore

Costuming--It's Not Just For Halloween Anymore

It's October, and I know a lot of folks are getting their Halloween costumes together either for themselves (to attend a masquerade) or for their little ones to go trick-or-treating, but did you know there are many folks who consider costuming their hobby, even their calling?

 Some call it "cosplay." (I think of that as acting out a particular anime or fictional character.)  But many others think of themselves as simply "costumers" who enjoy creating their own unique characters and bringing them to life.

One of the best places to witness the wonders of costuming is at a science fiction convention such as Archon, but not all the characters you'll see there come to life are necessarily sci-fi or fantasy related. The one thread that holds all costumers together is their sense of wonder and sense of fun. I mean, what could be more fun than pretending to be a fantastical creature or zany character you've imagined and realized with your own talents at the sewing machine or table saw? 

Enjoy the photos and feel inspired. Have a safe and Happy Halloween, too.

From Star Trek to Doctor Who... It's always great to see the classics of science fiction at Archon!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review: The Last Woman Standing

The Last Woman Standing Getting close to our Y.A. debut release of Olivia's Escape... But here's the scoop on the last "romantic fiction" I've read/reviewed.

The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Young Josephine Marcus runs away from her stifling home life in 1880’s San Francisco to marry Johnny Behan, a charming older man who’s aiming to become the sheriff of Tombstone, Arizona. But once Josephine finds herself in the booming silver mining and cattle baron town she realizes Johnny wants her to act as a governess to his young son and keep his bed warm without benefit of matrimony. After she catches Johnny in bed with another woman, she admits to herself that she can no longer keep up the charade of caring for him and lying to her conservative Jewish family back home that he’s going to make an honest woman out of her one day. She walks out. But how can a disgraced woman make a living in a boom town which doesn’t involve selling her body?

Luckily for Josephine, the handsome sharpshooter Wyatt Earp has taken a shine to her since the day she stepped off the stage coach. A competitor for the same position as Johnny, Wyatt and his brothers have all been discriminated against by the ex-Confederates in the territory. They don’t care for the Earp brothers’ Lincoln Republican leanings and want to exploit Tombstone any way they see fit. As Wyatt’s kept woman, Josephine experiences the aftermath of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and the false testimony of the traitorous Johnny Behan, which places the Earp brothers in jail and endangers their lives by vigilante action.

The Last Woman Standing is primarily a historical novel with a little added romance. The in-depth details of life in 1880s Arizona and the larger-than-life characters who dwelled in the infamous town will appeal to readers of Westerns and women’s historical fiction alike, if they can handle the slow pacing and large information dumps given at the expense of the actual story.

View all my reviews

Coming soon from Desert Breeze Publishing... Olivia's Escape, Book one of the BloodDark series. Read more about the series at

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Review -- The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls WilderThe Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book of letters? Why would I want to read someone's mail? Hey, it's much more fascinating and revealing that you'd first believe. As a big Laura Ingalls Wilder fan (since childhood), I was enthralled to learn details of her life "behind the fiction" and how her daughter, journalist Rose Wilder Lane, was perhaps the undisclosed ghostwriter of her classic children's literature. Recommended for all Laura fans and others who are interested in seeing the process behind a writer's goal of creating a book series to preserve American history.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review: Boy Erased (A Memoir)

Boy Erased: A MemoirBoy Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A life spent questioning one’s self-worth, one’s faith, one’s sanity is not a life worth living. In the coming out memoir, Boy Erased, Garrard Conley boldly shares his inner and outer struggles of dealing with his homosexuality, his fundamentalist upbringing in Arkansas, and his parents’ expectations of him becoming the perfect son.

Young Garrard realizes that he’s different from other boys-- he likes to look at men in a different way than others--but his family’s strict Missionary Baptist religion prohibits such sinful thoughts, let alone actions. To make matters worse, his father begins a second career as a preacher, and to openly confess his gay nature would destroy his family’s good name in the church. Going off to college to study English literature, Garrard is haunted by his feelings and finds himself in a difficult situation when he is raped by another student who then turns around and tells on him to his family. The rapist claims it is all Garrard’s fault, and so as a victim he is further persecuted and questioned.

Garrard’s parents fear for his immortal soul and enroll him into an “ex-gay” program, Love In Action, a place that is anything but loving. There he is subjected to amateur brainwashing techniques in the guise of a twelve step addiction program. If he will only take the first step and admit he is wrong and admit he is “addicted to being gay”, then he will be “cured” according to LIA. But Garrard eventually sees through the doublespeak and self-loathing his ex-gay instructors try to instill in their clients. He realizes somewhere deep down that God would not have made him gay to lead him into self-destruction and despair. He knows his parents love him and will come to accept him, and so he walks out.

Boy Erased is a poignant story that will touch many who struggle with being “different” and who question their existence in the face of prejudice and ignorance.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

What I've been up to lately...

I apologize for not keeping up with my personal blog postings lately, but I've been busy editing The Bernie Blog, canvassing for the campaign, working on our Y.A. sci-fi series (the  first book, BloodDark -- Olivia's Escape releases in August), and  writing for another web site, Political Storm. Here's a sample of my writing lately which appeared recently at that web site.

 Our Champion

It’s not the style--it’s the substance. It’s the sincerity of his message. It’s that warm, empowering feeling of hope you feel whenever you hear Bernie Sanders speak. You sense his compassion for others whenever you listen to him. It makes no difference if you hear him in person at a “yuge” rally or streaming online from an alternative media source (since mainstream media has ignored him). All that matters is the message is directed at you, an ordinary American voter, and not at some billionaire corporate lobbyist or super PAC contributor. 

Bernie Sanders doesn’t have a super PAC or even want a super PAC. He has been funded since day one of his run for office by us, ordinary Americans. His average campaign donation? Bernie brags at his rallies it’s “twenty-seven bucks!” We all laugh and applaud. The fact that he’s raised so much from so many through small donations demonstrates the affection millions of ordinary people have for Bernie. (We gave him $43 million in March alone.)We like him so much that we call him by his first name, and Bernie is cool with it. 

The Millennials definitely think he’s cool. They design t-shirts with his face and slogans and tattoo their bodies with his icon. This will never cease to amaze me since their generation has been put through the grinder by the Baby Boomers’ selfishness and carelessness. Our kids inherit a polluted, climate-changed planet, and they’re desperate for the hope Bernie’s “A Future to Believe In” platform provides. But it’s not just about the excitement of the rally and the thousands upon thousands cheering on Bernie in large university arenas that provides hope; it’s the man himself.  Young and old alike connect with Bernie because he gives us the truth, straight up and unvarnished, and then he tells us how together we’ll make changes for the better and revive democracy in our great nation. 

“Not Me Us” is one of Bernie’s trending hashtags online, and it sums up his philosophy well. Together we are strong and caring. Together we can save our world. Together we can work to build a brighter future for all Americans and not just the handful who’ve been dipping their hands in the cookie jar and hoarding all the cookies for too long. Together we have hope.

Our champion doesn’t come riding in on a white stallion--or even in a white luxury sedan--but he comes to talk to us in person and humbly asks for our support. We welcome him to our backyard barbecues with smiles and a cold beer. Folks who donate an average of $27 to a candidate can’t afford $353,400 tickets to fancy soirees with champagne and caviar and movie stars. We know we can’t afford to elect candidates who only want fame, power and more money for themselves, either. Fortunately, we have Bernie Sanders, a public servant who has served working Americans well through his long and distinguished career. 

Bernie Sanders: A champion to believe in and a future to believe in. Somewhere up there you know FDR would be proud.


For more information about Bernie , please check out his campaign website at or go to the all volunteer-created website bursting with useful information: