It’s San Francisco 1938: “A world’s fair is preparing to
open, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities.”
(cover blurb) Grace, Helen, and Ruby, all from varied backgrounds, meet as
dancers in the Forbidden City nightclub. Through challenges and shifting
fortunes, their friendship is tested. “When their dark secrets are exposed and
the invisible thread of fate binds them tighter, they find the strength and
resilience to reach for their dreams.” (cover blurb)
China Dolls by Lisa See shows a world of
wealth, poverty, and prejudice. San Francisco’s hills are alive with love and
luck, or after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the atmosphere shifts to one
of suspicion and fear of Asians. Our young heroines, Grace, Helen, and
Ruby, must overcome paranoia and work together. They all learn about friendship
Lisa See writes a lively tale with endearing characters.
These girls have family scars, but gumption in a changing world. For Grace on
her bus trip from Ohio, “each new state I passed through loosened another rope
around my heart, my legs, my arms, yet my whole body ached, and I couldn’t
shake my vertigo.”(p.3) Helen must break free from an overprotective
family and risk bringing them dishonor. Ruby is a free spirit that hides deep
secrets. These China Dolls are fragile, and yet up to the task.
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness is the
finale to a great trilogy. In A Discovery of Witches and Shadow
of Night, we meet Diana Bishop, a woman finally learning about her
witch powers. She’s a timewalker and a weaver – that’s a powerful combination.
Falling in love with Michael Clairmont has proven problematic since he’s a
powerful vampire from a strong family. However, together they demonstrate that
love conquers a lot. Now the key mystery book and missing pages from Ashmole
782 again binds them to a daring finish to a battle of vampires, daemons, and
Returning from Elizabethan England, Diana and Michael face
new enemies – many who are related and have even inherited his blood rage.
Diana’s pregnancy adds a new urgency to the family lineage, as witches and
vampires line up to question the powers of the upcoming children. Palatial
homes, university laboratories, and rich libraries from Auvergne to Venice
provide the backdrop for a chase, a mystery, murders, and a joyous birth.
Harkness deepens “her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past
deeds and present consequences.” (cover blurb)
The All Souls Trilogy is rich in language and lore,
with an intermingling of characters from the past. Harkness herself is a weaver
– she casts a spell in her pacing and intrigue. “Matthew and I were an
alchemical marriage of vampire and witch, death and life, sun and moon. That
combination of opposites created something finer, and more precious than either
of us could ever have been separately. We were the tenth knot. Unbreakable.
Without beginning or end.” Read the series and rejoice in rooting for
Diana and Matthew in the final Book of Life.
I've saved our liveliest most senior poet for last in my tour of Old Broads. Fran Fischer is a pip - and that's a word I don't dole out to just anyone. In getting to work on this compilation, I've had the joy of reading her poems and marveling at the humor and zest for life. I bet she keeps California on its toes - you can tell from her energy level. She's a fighter with a zing.
Please check out her blog, buy her books, and enjoy the poems she shared in Old Broads Waxing Poetic. We're gonna need a volume two, just to have Fran do Odes to 85, 90, 95, and 100. Cheers to you, kid!
She's a newfound friend from the north - oh Canada. Her poems look to the past, present, and future and whether it's a dusty road or a peek into the kitchen, she brings a warmth and a hearty soul to her word pictures. Her bio claims curmudgeonly, but I don't believe it.
In honor of the Old Broads Waxing Poetic book launch www.amazon.com/dp/1500642800 ,
I am featuring our cast of poets. Friday - Liza Carens Salerno
It's Liza with a Z, not Lisa with an S - I admit I had a heck of a time as I set up and formatted the book. Had to be super careful to get this author's name correct. But, now that I've read her poems and enjoyed her blog http://middlepassages-lcs.blogspot.com/ she is Liza from MA and her work speaks to me.
Tight images - waves on the lake, pounding surf at the beach, or wind rustling through trees, and the sound of a train whistle in the distance. She captures a mood, and you can feel the outdoor temperature as you peruse her work. I absolutely love her title Ocular Spring and what it presents.
So, please meet Liza Carens Salerno on her blog, and via her poems in the Old Broads Waxing Poetic collection.
And as a side note, Stephen T. McCarthy won the free copy. His posts on Susan Swiderski's blog gave quite a tale of two old broads. Congrats to Stephen.
In honor of the Old Broads Waxing Poetic book launch www.amazon.com/dp/1500642800
I am featuring the poets this week. Thursday - meet Robyn Engel
Her Life by Chocolate blog is extremely entertaining. You never know what will greet you - a wacky interview, a description of her time with Cheryl Strayed (Wild) at a conference, or a reason to dive into chocolate. She describes herself as feisty, and a lot of her poems live up to that adjective. She strikes me as a dreamer and a realist - yes that's possible. I met her through this Old Broads project, and I am a fan. Please check out her blog and her poems. She is never dull, and that's a very good thing.
In honor of the Old Broads Waxing Poetic book launch www.amazon.com/dp/1500642800
I am featuring the poets of the book. Wednesday - Connie Biltz aka Daisy
Her poetry warms the heart and soul. She touches on ordinary life with extraordinary descriptions. Her poems bring everyday life to life and embody a calm. Her embrace of family in her words is delightful, and I'm pleased to have met her through this collection. Please check out the link above, and also look for Connie Biltz's poetry in Old Broads Waxing Poetic.
Tuesday welcomes Julie Kemp Pick. She's one of the co-compilers and partners in crime with Susan Flett Swiderski. I've enjoyed meeting her through Susan, exchanging emails, and now reading her blog.
Her poems exude gusto, humor, and a dash of self-deprecation. She's juggling a lot and kept crazy old broad poets in line - that can be like herding cats. Please enjoy her writing on the blog link above, and have a good chuckle with her poems in the Old Broads collection.
Monday's broad - Susan Flett Swiderski - is a hoot. Her writing is laugh out loud funny, and her poems in the collection always have heart. I met her through a Blogging A-to-Z April challenge, and her I Think; Therefore I Yam had me hooked. She's written a book Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade, and is one of the co-compilers of the Old Broads collection. Check out her link above and start chuckling.
Your eyes aren't deceiving you - our honorary Old Broad is Michael di Gesu. He volunteered his time to create the cover and back page, using the photo by Francesco Romoli. Thanks, Michael.
check out his blog and support his creative efforts.
They are not going to take it sitting down. Well, some of
them are. Though they’re being robbed of their girlish looks, ability to bend
without creaking, and stylish footwear, you can’t take away their spirit. Rhyme
or shine, they’re eight Old Broads on a mission to bare their souls by writing
from their pacemakers. Some of them are dusting off feelings that haven’t been
touched for decades, while others are shooting straight from their bionic hips.
They also touch on serious subjects we all can relate to on
some level, but just when you think nothing could be sadder, they promise to
lift you up again. What makes Old Broads extra special is all proceeds will go directly
to CARE International.
As you turn the pages, even the poems without surprise
endings will surprise you, because odds are, you won’t remember reading them,
and most of the broads won’t remember writing them.
I am pleased to be a part of this excellent collection. In salute to the book launch, we are asking blog readers to respond in the comments with a blurb on their favorite old broad. Write a sentence or two or a poem and let us know who you look up to. You could win a copy. (and feel free to buy the book, too, as gifts. It's for a great cause - CARE International)
My favorite old broad was my Nana Crowther. She wore sturdy shoes, always had on an apron, loved listening to Phillies baseball on the radio, and handed me fifty cents for good report cards. A faithful letter writer, she kept my mailbox from echoing when I was off to college, or moved to Texas. After she passed, I learned she was a bit of a suffragette back in the day to get women the right to vote. Julia Crowther was salt of the earth from Indiana and Pennsylvania.
Thanks for joining me in this book launch for Old Broads Waxing Poetic compiled by Julie Kemp Pick and Susan Flett Swiderski. Including poets - Connie Biltz, Julie Kemp Pick, Susan Flett Swiderski, Fran Fischer, Robyn Engel, Delores Lowndes, Liza Carens Salerno, and me.
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.