From the Keyboard


Almost lost amidst dead leaves,

and severed limbs,

a nest felled by the storm,

barely more than twigs.

On other walks, it would have been

a mass to be avoided,

side-stepped in the rain.

But reason,

shamed by tireless fluttering,

let sentiment compel

a search for life

within that sodden lump,

so plainly delicate and still.

How to quell despair,

when prodding leaves no doubt?

Spills a hash of shattered shells,

budding wings,

a mother’s beak still full?

I laid small stones by the debris,

a bed too frail for splitting skies,

crushing hail,

and, heeding wings,

gazed far aloft at hope.

©2017 All Rights Reserved

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A Place Beyond

El Malpais


 A Place Beyond

There are places beyond the usual limits
of space and time.
We go there – when the time is right
to see what is mostly unseen.

This is not a different world or universe.
You simply have to hop the fence.
Step lively if you want to catch the fleeting moment.
It is worth the effort.


                                                             *     *     *    

Painted Desert, December 2015

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The Alchemy of Turning Darkness into Light

Scribe Doll's Musings

A text message the day before, signed in both names, gently confirms that H. and I are to go the the Castle museum entrance a few minutes before the ceremony.

It’s a grey morning but unusually mild for December.  We walk over the bridge leading to the Norman keep, where for centuries, those convicted of crime were hanged.  I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with Norwich Castle.  For one thing, I find its sugar-cube shape on the hill dominating the city rather ugly.  It lacks the charm of Durham Castle’s irregular edges, or the Gothic feel of Edinburgh Castle.  There is something eerie about its bland squareness.  I first set foot in it about ten years ago.  I walked in, bought my ticket, caught a brief glimpse of a series of busts on display, and promptly and almost involuntarily dashed back out at full speed, overwhelmed with a totally unfathomable…

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We hold these truths…

From the Keyboard


I ran out of holiday stamps. I do every year, even though I try to buy what I think are ample amounts of postage for a variety of seasonal festivities.  But I always underestimate.

Then I reach for the Forever stamps I purchased for letters I used to write by hand, but now mostly clack out on whatever device is handy—computer, if the letters are longer than a few lines—and send by email.

How my habits have changed.

Still, while I grouse a bit about the holidays, how exhausting the shopping and addressing all those cards is, I do love to remember people who are close to my heart, or who were simply kind, and sending cards and gifts is a way to do that.

In each card, I write small personal messages. This year, however, after I’d sealed the envelopes, and turned to those images of the American flag…

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W.J. Astore: The Trump Cabinet of Billionaires and Generals

Vox Populi

There’s an obvious trend in Trump’s cabinet picks: billionaires and generals. The billionaires favor private enterprise, capitalism unconstrained by regulations (especially those pesky environmental ones), and a view of the world in which global warming either doesn’t exist or can be ignored for the purposes of economic growth and higher profits. The generals? Well, they’re military men, “lifers” experienced in the ways of weapons and war, with a reputation for no compromise, especially against radical Islamic terrorism.

Trump’s latest cabinet pick (pending official announcement) is Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. Tillerson is currently the president, CEO, and chairman of Exxon Mobil Corporation. He’s done some big petro deals with Russia and favors lifting sanctions against that country for its actions in the Crimea. Expect relations with Putin’s Russia to improve under Trump, not necessarily a bad thing considering the nuclear arsenals that each country has.

If past is prologue…

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20 questions with Eva Lesko Natiello (author of “The Memory Box”) + GIVEAWAY!


Eva Lesko Natiello is a native New Yorker, who, by transplanting to the New Jersey suburbs, conceived her first novel, “The Memory Box“, an award-winning debut thriller. I’m excited to announce that she has graciously consented to an interview on Fictionophile.


Also,  animated-drum-rollshe has generously agreed to provide a signed copy of her novel in order that I might host a ‘giveaway‘ open to the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.  In order to qualify for the draw, readers must ‘like‘ or ‘comment‘ on either this blog post, or, on the post of my review of “The Memory Box“.

Thanks so much Eva!

Welcome to Fictionophile.

F:   The Memory Box” is your debut novel.  It has been very popular with readers, and it won the Houston Writer’s Guild Manuscript Award in 2014.  To what do you attribute its…

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We Eat Our Own: A Review

The Pedometer Geek's Book Review

Normally this pedometer geek reader only reviews books received through giveaways. It is the way for an appreciative reader to highlight those books and help authors get some much needed recognition. Hopefully, these reviews translate into a sale or two for these books.

Despite what many people believe there isn’t a great deal of money in books for most authors. Writers (like other artists) spend hours upon hours writing with no guarantee of ever recouping their time or money. While there are authors who do make money with their craft, most have to keep their day jobs. They write, frankly, because they must write.

Every so often, however, a book comes along that this reader chooses to review, and Kea Wilson’s We Eat Our Own is one of those exceptions.

We Eat Our Own

by Kea Wilson

Published by Scribner, 2016

ISBN: 9781501128318

Kea Wilson’s debut novel is unlike anything…

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From the Keyboard


I’m giving myself a gift. I don’t generally, during the holidays, but this year, yes, this year…? Yes.

The internet has changed the world for writers. It’s a good thing, in many ways, but I have, truthfully, felt a bit smothered by it—the necessity for promotion, the struggle to be everywhere, to be heard.

I don’t have a big persona. Nor do I have a big voice. Even as a singer. Early on, one of my teachers, a former diva at the Met, told me that I would never make it in opera. It was disappointing, but because she was a good teacher who recognized what I could do well, she helped and encouraged me to do it better. As I moved on, other teachers did the same, steering me toward my strengths, showing me where to display them.

The choice of venue, as I discovered, was key. For me…

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Indie Bookstores Are Like Cheers Minus the Beer

Eva Lesko Natiello

TownBookStore 001

Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, and two days before Cyber Monday, is a relatively new national campaign to drive business to stores once known as Mom & Pop Shops. While we think of Black Friday as the day to shop department store deals and Cyber Monday as a day to shop online deals, Small Business Saturday is a day to shop local and support non-franchised stores. Independent bookstores have their own name for this day: Indies First Day.

On Indies First Day this year, like many authors across the country, I had the wonderful pleasure of being a guest bookseller at two independent bookstores in New Jersey. I spent the morning at The Town Book Store in Westfield, NJ and the afternoon at [words] Bookstore in Maplewood, NJ. It was a fabulous experience to talk to customers and get an idea of what they like to…

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Cranberry Redemption

Writer's Cramp

     I have a confession to make. I’ve never been a fan of cranberry stuff at Thanksgiving – not sauce, relish, whatever. It seemed like some sort of Holy obligation — I had to eat some because of the sacred tradition.  My mom always opened a can and dumped it on a plate like some sort of  gelatinous cylinder…festive, flavorful, and to me, kind of industrial looking. It would be passed around the table like communion and folks would take a spoonful and deposit it on the side of their plate but not let it touch any of the other food…it was something apart.
     Now there are many ways to prepare cranberries and my mom experimented with different recipes but she had her hands full with everything else. We knew that it was best to stay out of the kitchen. I recall one year when there were flames roaring out of the oven…

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