Late April (Book Review)

Late April by Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt

Katherine’s poetry always makes you ponder. Her latest book, Late April, ponders the celebration of seasons in life and nature.  I find this particular collection has a river of joy, with a few babbling brooks of wisdom winding through. As you float through her poems you will experience irony, joy, sorrow, irony and anger. I am grabbing the metaphor of water here and hanging on to it as I read Katherine’s poetry. She has a few fonts of Holy Water and sprinkles in some #hashtags. A poem that mentions #Amazon, who would have thought that would get sprinkled in?

OK, so enough of the metaphor, Katherine’s poetry is refreshing and relevant. It takes the reader to depths in the simple and captures your imagination to ponder the poignant. This is Katherine’s forth collection of poetry, a must read for poets and those that appreciate poetry.

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“Three Hots and a Cot” by Nancy Wyatt

Take a look at Homelessness from the Comfort of your Home!

Told against the backdrop of a homeless shelter “Three Hots and a Cot” allows you to see the impact of homelessness. This book, adapted form the stage play, is told in vignettes of short monologues. Feel the impact of job loss, chronic illness, and know that you too could become part of this story. The words will help you feel the powerful emotions of those who must live in shelters, for now. Allow this book will move you and impact your heart, open your senses and feel the stories. As a nurse that has worked in the HIV/AIDS community, taken care of patients who were homeless in parking lot’s “Three Hot’s an a Cot” is a look inside these lives that many will never experience. The glimpse goes into the dark hidden spaces of homelessness. It peaks into the reasons that we never thought of. It gives a glimmer of how the homeless children feel and answers some of the “why” do they end up like this. I found this a fascinating read that gave an open honest view of homelessness. I would go so far as to call it a must read for medical professionals and those who volunteer with the homeless. I would encourage all who dare to feel the poignant telling of these true stories and allow yourself to experience the homeless crisis through their eyes! This book has been performed on stage as well and licensing for theater groups is available.

Truth in blogging, Nancy Wyatt is in, “Write by the Rails,” the same writing group I belong to. This is the first of her books I have read and it is such a powerful book! I will encourage my student nurses to read this book! Her writing tells it like it is. I have worked in the community with the homeless and can verify the overarching stories are true to this culture. I have taken care of homeless patients in parking lots as that was the “best address” they had. I worked at a homeless hypothermia shelter and when the third person checking in that night gave the same address I asked what the deal was. “Oh we made it up, everyone needs an address. Especially if you hope to get any work,” came the reply. They had made up an address for their “camp” in the woods.

I encourage you to read this book. Experience the stories. Next time someone asks for help see if it changes your response. I have been carrying water and socks in my car for years to give out to the needy.

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Girl Last Seen ~ Book Review

This book was captivating from beginning to end! A page turner to be sure, I read it in one day. I just could not put it down. Every time I thought I might have an idea what happened, hard turn! Two kidnappings thirteen years apart, that’s as much as I want to say. No chance of me spoiling it for you! Read this thriller, it is fast paced, intense and yet plausible! Enjoy!

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Documentary Fundraising

Documentary Fundraising for Our National Bird: The Bald Eagle

Guest Blogger: Victor Rook

The first cut of our bald eagle documentary, Who’s Protecting Our National Bird? has been completed. It clocks in at 1 hour 52 minutes. In the following months I hope to bring that down to around 1 hour 45 minutes or less. We are still short $2600 from our final goal of $8000 when GoFundMe, PayPal, checks, and cash donations are combined. This amount will be needed to pay for more music, final travel, entry fees, and other costs incurred in the post-production and distribution of the film.

Watch the Documentary Trailer:

What an incredible journey this has been since this all began back in 2015, before all the construction took away our eagles’ main habitats here in Manassas, Virginia. My hope is that other cities will see this film and, in turn, make better decisions when it comes to protecting our nation’s bird. And that more hunters will choose to hunt with lead-free ammunition. There will have to be some changes. And it all starts with us: We, the People. In the documentary I highlight not only our nest, but also five of several dozen nests around the country where citizens are trying to protect their eagles from developers. Many of them have sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to adhere to their own Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act guidelines.

Please watch the video trailer above, share this page, and if you can, make a contribution in any of the following ways. All who support the film will have their names included in the film credits.

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How to Support Our Film:

1. PayPal: You can easily make a PayPal payment from the film’s official website at http://baldeaglefilm.com
2. GoFundMe: A GoFundMe page has helped us raise over $2300 so far. That address is https://www.gofundme.com/bald-eagle-preservation-documentary
3. Seed & Spark: Seed & Spark is a crowdfunding site for independent films where you can pledge contributions. The drawback on this form of funding is we will not receive any funds unless $2600 is pledged within 60 days. So even if $2300 is pledged, we will receive nothing. But check it out at https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/whos-protecting-our-national-bird#story
4. Cash or Check Contributions: If you’d like to avoid making online payments, we can receive checks made out to Rook Communications, P.O. Box 571, Manassas, VA 20108. Make sure you put “For Bald Eagle Film” in the memo line.
5. Wealthy Philanthropists: The largest donation we’ve received for the documentary from one person is $1900. That’s almost 1/3 of our total so far. I’ve been told to connect with someone who has money to spend and is pissed off by how our government treats wildlife. I’ve yet to find those people, but if you know of any, please share this page and video trailer with them!

I sincerely thank you for any support you can provide. – Victor Rook, Producer

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Victor Rook has authored several books, including People Who Need to Die, In Search of Good Times, Poetry Pizza, and Dollar Store Crafts & Recipes. His nature film, Beyond the Garden Gate, won two Telly awards and aired on PBS.

He also helps other authors with book cover design, interior formatting, editing, and publishing.

Website: http://victorrook.com

Categories: 2018 Write by the Rails Blog Tour #WbtR | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Axe to Grind: Vigalante or Murderer?

Axe to Grind the first book in the Knight Shsade Series is done! Wow Theo Marsh I was captivated from begining to end! Wonderful writing! This Book is free on line for a limited time! So check out the blog link to read it. Marsh develops the carachters in a way that is reminiscent of the Green Hornet and other 1930s and 1940s Radio Shows with all the modern technology. I was enthralled the entire time I read this book!

Vigalante or Murderer? Crime Novel lover? This one is for you!

https://writersdash.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/consolidatedwordaxetogrind_finalwritersdash.pdf

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Writer’s Block Sucks: You Know You’re in Trouble When Even Elmore Leonard Can’t Help You

Guest Blog by Tamela Ritter

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Thoughts come in snatches. Bits of paper fluttering in an Autumn wind and I jump and run to collect them all, to make sense of them. They are parched and singed on the edges and the scripted pages crinkle and wither in my hands. They crumble and float away, no remnants of the prose, of the original concept remain for me to gather to me, to start again with.

I wake with a muted scream in my throat and my heart pounding. I’ve had this nightmare before. Many times, before.

In fact, I’ve been living in this dream for so long now, so consistently (it used to come and go, this thing we jokingly call Writer’s Block), I’m starting to think that it’s not the dream, it’s the reality. It was that other life that was a dream. That life when words came easy, when stories refused to sit idle in my mind, would poke and prod me to get written. That time when my mind was full of voices not my own but with characters with much richer lives than my own, much more important things to say.

I’ve had slumps before, we all have, haven’t we? HAVEN’T WE?!?!

(Please tell me I’m not alone!)

And I have an arsenal of weapons to attack them, to work through them, make them go away. Things that have worked in the past.

I’ve moved around my writing corner, taken my writing on the road, started writing long-hand, on napkins/toilet paper/newspaper, with crayons, with those markers that smell like fruit and candy. I’ve started drinking, stopped drinking, meditated, practiced yoga, went for a swim, a bike ride, a long walk. I’ve gone to the cinema, the theatre, read masterpieces I wish I would have written and trash that I can’t believe got published. I’ve even started crafting…anything to get the creativity sparked.

And while all my files are cleaned out, my writing corner sparkles, I’m in better shape than I’ve been in years, I’ve read some great books and have crafted enough to almost open an Etsy store, none of it has given me the spark I’ve so desperately been looking for. None of it has created what, for me, has been more important than breathing for most of my life—words on a page.

And here is the part of the blog where normally, people present solutions to the problem they’d just presented above…

I stare and re-read and I’m three days past due on turning in this piece and… I got nothing.

But, that’s why I signed up for this Blog Tour (thanks for the invite, Jan btw), to push myself, to get over myself. To just freakin’ write something!

Or maybe to cry for help.

HELP!

Okay, let’s see if I can end this on any shred of a good note. If I can’t be prolific, if I can’t be profound, at the very least, I can be helpful. I can share words of wisdom that have, in the past, served me well.

Many, many years ago in another life, I was a freelance reporter for the local paper in Fairfield County Connecticut and had the pleasure of interviewing and writing about a lot of artists, actors and writers—and occasionally—personal heroes. One of the best moments in that job was the day that I called the late, great Elmore Leonard on the phone to chat about writing.

This is the man who famously said this:

“I don’t believe in writer’s block or waiting for inspiration. If you’re a writer, you sit down and write.”

I got to ask him about this quote, because while I like it, I couldn’t believe that anyone could really live by it.  He said he had to live by it. If you wanted to make your living out of the written word, you can’t allow yourself the luxury of writer’s block.

The thing he said that I remember the most vividly and has stayed with me the longest (and I’m not going to put it in quotes because it’s a paraphrase at this point and I don’t want to, even in death—especially—in death, put words in his mouth) is this:

You’ve got to stop thinking of it as this precious thing. It’s a job, like being a plumber is a job. You ever heard of a plumber calling in uninspired? No. They just do the job.

JUST DO THEJOB!

For more information on Elmore Leonard: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmore_Leonard

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Prescription: Poetry

Guest Blog: Write by the Rails                                                                   2018 Tour2018 Blog Tour:

By Katherine GotthardtKatherine-Gotthardt-

For a lot of people, the idea of reading poetry is about as appealing as booking their next colonoscopy. They’ll do it, but only if someone in authority tells them to and convinces them it’s for their own good.

Because Jan is a nurse, she might allow me to extend this simile, but I won’t take advantage of her good nature or reduce the level of discourse to the scatalogical (though admittedly, the temptation to make lowbrow puns and silly double entendres is strong). Suffice to say, if you were drawn in by the comparison of poetry to a colonoscopy, you might find poetry actually interesting. Here’s why.

Poetry is wordplay on steroids

The greatest poets of history have relied on the power of wordplay. While some might argue puns are puny interns in the halls of humor, writers and readers have relied on them for entertainment since the dawn of language. Poetic wordplay goes beyond the powerful pun, of course, sometimes in quite complicated ways. So even if you think you dislike poetry, if you enjoy wit and puzzles, the right kind of poetry could be for you.

Poetry is ointment

Nothing soothes the soul like music, many might say. But what goes into music? Rhythm? Poetry’s got it. Lyrics? That’s poetry. Beat, cadence, tone? Poetry has all of those. But when it comes to simile, metaphor, imagery and unique word juxtaposition, poetry blends it all into one smoothe balm. If you know enough to appreciate a good tune, a moving symphony or a catchy ditty, you can easily figure out how to enjoy poetry.

Poetry is internal medicine

All action, all science, all art starts from within. We internally explore ideas, create meaning and look for ways to communicate before we ever begin to write poetry. So for those enamored with the mind, enchanted by self-expression, excited by innovation, poetry often resembles the brain’s most creative output. That means readers won’t always understand particular poems right away. If that sounds like you, no worries. Experiment. Read different kinds of poetry. Examine it closely. Put it under your own microscope. See what you discover about the guts of it and how that discovery affects you.

I would be remiss if didn’t mention my own work and the way life impacts the way I write poetry. Depending on which book you pick up, you will see varying degrees of style and theme. And in my newest collection, Bury Me Under a Lilac, you’ll experience poems that reflect the lifespan. I tend to write short poems packed with puns, images, references, metaphor, along with pinpricks of lessons learned and tiny tablets of wisdom given to me by others. So I’ll leave you with a poem from the book. I hope you enjoy and wish you good health.

Message in a Bottle

Just a little reminder:

you are not an infant,

and I have no bottles

except my own,

and they are filled

with prescriptions

written out to me.

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From Jan:

Thanks Katherine Gotthardt for being my guest this week!  As Vice President, of Write by the Rails, Katherine has been a true joy and blessing to me! The synergy that we have as we work together is incredible. Katherine is a Writer, Poet and Business Owner.

“Katherine is the owner of All Things Writing. ATW – All Things Writing, LLC was officially launched in January, 2014 by Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt, who has written since she was a child. Thinking she would operate as a traditional freelance writer and editor, Katherine was pleasantly surprised when she became inundated by requests for services. By 2015, she had so much work, she needed a team. She created a network of local, professional partners ready, willing and able to meet the needs of a diverse clientele.

ATW was nominated for the 2016 Prince William Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Business of the Year Award. In 2017, they were nominated for the Chamber’s Outstanding Professional Service Award.

In her creative life, Katherine has been nominated twice for Poet Laureate of the Prince William Area. Learn more at www.KatherineGotthardt.com.”   copied from https://allthingswritingllc.com/

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What Are You Reading? Do CDs Count?

It’s National Book Lovers Day 2018.  Today several friends, knowing I am a book lover, asked me the proverbial question, “So what are you reading?” 8c28c7d4-bcdb-4a9d-9fcd-8a9112d0d165.jpeg It seems like such a simple question on the surface. For me it is a little more difficult.

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Let’s see, on my ipad I am reading, Dying to Read, by Lorena McCourtney. Cate Kincaide is working as a private investigator  for her uncle until she lands one of the many jobs she has applied for. She has to locate a girl named Willow. Sounds simple, perhaps. But then simple never makes for a great story line!

What happens next has a hint of romance and enough plot twist that it has been a page turner! It’s a cleverly written murder mystery “lite”, no blood and gore descriptions.

If you like The No. 1 Ladies Dective Agency, then you will like this book!

 

Next up in the car I am “reading”, 05680BD2-A80F-4C40-8C61-662677BA3831Texas Fury, by Fern Michaels. I use the term “reading” as for me listening to a book on CD is “reading” the book the way I track books read. Now for some purist they would not consider that I “read” the book in the strictest definition of reading.

I can tell you this is the third book in a series about the Coleman family from Texas. While some of the book takes place in Texas it also travels to Japan, and Hawaii. This series is about a powerful Texas oil family and the many branches of the family. The story crosses several generations and the ups and downs of the oil business. It is the story of how the family deals with lean times and gushers. Tales of well to do and the more common folk, a good summer travel read.

1F8565D5-2A48-4276-9356-98EA325D3075Lastly, I have been reading in the traditional book form, I Promise not to Suffer, by Gail Storey. I love to read hiking books and this one is a wonderful read. It is a memoir by Gail of hiking the 2,663 mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.

The couple leaves their secure jobs in their fifties to go and hike the trail. There are many ups and downs in their hike across numerous mountain ranges and across deserts. You get a good picture of how brutal yet beautiful this trail can be. Gails writing is an honest about adversity yet at times a hilarious recounting of their adventures on the trail. She is honest in telling of their misery in some of the situations they encounter. As most trail books do there are times they encounter wild animals, other hikers, trail angels and of course discuss the pros and cons of various hiking equipment. If you dream of hiking one of the major trails this is a great read for inspiration, if not you can day dream about hiking!

So that’s a look at my primary reading right now. I read my Bible, on my phone and in Book form regularly as well. As I experience different reading media for me my standard top choices have been books and CD. But I liking the ipad the more I get used to it for reading, not sure it will ever replace books for me! So what are you reading?

 

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We will always have the Closet

imageWe will Always have the Closet by Natalina Reis is a wonderful summer read! The main characters, Petra and Sam, are interesting and every time I thought I knew where the story was going I was wonderfully surprised with a new twist!

Petra is the ex wife of Jonas Linden and despite the fact that he was unfaithful to her she believes him innocent of art fraud. Sam Corra is investigating the art fraud case and he is hot on the trail of Jonas. When Petra ducks in a closet to avoid someone coming into the room she finds Sam is in the closet. There is instant heat and attraction made difficult when they find out they have polar opposite opinions of Jonas being guilty.

Just when you think you have it figured out, you don’t, or at least I did not!

It is well written, characters are well developed, the diaglogue is entertaining and interesting. I highly recommend We will Always have the Closet by Natalina Reis. I loved it as I soaked up the beach. Although I admit, I would like it no matter the season!

 

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Monet ~ Musée de l’Orangerie

Musée de l’Orangerie is the home of Monet’s famed Water Lillies. The paintings are beautiful and very moving, at least for a Monet lover like me! Monet donated these paintings to Paris for all of us to enjoy. I do not want to destroy your ahhhhh factor. But I do want to encourage you to see these masterpieces. The paintings are beautifully displayed and they are huge paintings! I hope you will take the time to see them. The Musée de l’Orangerie is very near the Seine River and a wonderful day can be had by doing the Musée and then taking in a river boat ride on the Seine River.

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