Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ciao until October

Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa, Verona, Lake Como
Pasta, gelato, Chianti

I am off to Italy with a writer friend.  Poor Ray shall hold down the fort, and hope for a t-shirt.
I shall bore you with pictures when I return and shake off the jet lag.  Stay well, my friends.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review: China Dolls by Lisa See

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 and life.  

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.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

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 witches.  

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.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Old Broads Waxing Poetic Cast: Sunday

In honor of Old Broads Waxing Poetic book launch
I am featuring the cast of poets.  A grand finale on Sunday - Fran Fischer

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!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Old Broads Waxing Poetic Cast: Saturday

In honor of the Old Broads Waxing Poetic book launch
I am featuring the poets.  Saturday - Delores Lowndes

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.

 Enjoy the twinkle in her voice and the calm in her poems and writing -     The blog is a joy and the poems in Old Broads Waxing Poetic speak for themselves.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Old Broads Waxing Poetic Cast : Friday

In honor of the Old Broads Waxing Poetic book launch ,
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   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.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Old Broads Waxing Poetic Cast: Thursday

In honor of the Old Broads Waxing Poetic book launch
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.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Old Broads Waxing Poetic Cast: Wednesday

In honor of the Old Broads Waxing Poetic book launch
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, September 9, 2014

Old Broads Waxing Poetic Cast: Tuesday

In honor of the Old Broads Waxing Poetic book launch
I am featuring the poets this week.

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, September 8, 2014

Old Broads Waxing Poetic Cast - Monday

In honor of Old Broads Waxing Poetic book launch
 I am featuring the cast.

 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.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Old Broads Waxing Poetic Cast

In honor of the Old Broads Waxing Poetic book launch
 - let's meet the creative cast of characters this week. 


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.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Book Launch: Old Broads Waxing Poetic

Back cover blurb:
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.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


The Shoes On The Danube Bank by Can Togay & Gyula Pauer, Budapest, Hungary

Shoes by Joanne Faries

shoes are the last to know 

where to go 

jumbled in closet
tucked bedside
hunkered outside front door
they await their master 

eased or stuffed
feet wiggle into place
scrunched toes
squawk mile after mile 

shoes support decisions
tap impatiently
hustle or meander
cast off at journey’s end 

shoes embody wear and tear 

 of life