Character Voice – Research by Aurora Jean Alexander

Writer's Treasure Chest

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A couple of months ago, visiting a successful and experienced writer friend he told me, he read one of my pieces. I still am honored and flattered he took the time. He has an amazing way of complimenting and encouraging me – but also bringing on constructive criticism which I apparently deserved. Just this time I had no idea what he meant when he told me: “You have only one character voice.”

— ?? —

I was a little shocked. Not that I didn’t believe him, I just couldn’t believe it.

He is a wonderful mentor and of course took the time to explain to me what he was talking about:

All of my characters talk the same way. I frowned. I know my characters in and out, I know their looks, their abilities, their character, and personalities, whenever I write about them I can nearly…

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The Countdown’s On—DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens ONLY 99¢ through November 28

One of the best books of its kind–5 star winner. Don’t miss this endearing ‘coming of age’ book.

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

“Stevens’ skill with dialect also makes this book unique. She doesn’t overdo it, but lets it flow like spring water or rain in the forest.

Dog Bone Soupby Bette A. Stevens is available for only 99¢ beginning on Black Friday (November 25th) through Cyber Monday(November 28th).  This 1950s and 60s coming-of-age novel (ages 11-adult) has been likened to Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn by more than one reviewer. You’ll find one of those reviews below.

Grab a copy…or two…or more of Dog Bone Soup while the Countdown’s on at YOUR AMAZON You’ll be glad you did!

dbs-a-remarkable-taleThe Finer Spirit

“This is a wonderfully engaging and thought-provoking story. Bette Stevens’ young boy growing up in poverty in 1960s America, reminds me of another child, adrift on a raft on a mighty river, and the issues illuminated by that author of social stigma, individual resilience, and integrity. Huckleberry…

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Celebrate the Holidays with AMAZING MATILDA: #kindle version only 99¢ from 11/25 thru 11/28

Looking for that perfect gift—one that keeps on giving—for the children in your life? AMAZING MATILDA by Bette A. Stevens This 5✰ award-winning children’s book about a Monarch butterfly inspi…

Source: Celebrate the Holidays with AMAZING MATILDA: #kindle version only 99¢ from 11/25 thru 11/28

A #FREE BOOK for YOU to download thru November 29—It’s “PURE TRASH” by Bette A. Stevens

(Excerpt from latest of 47 reviews) Pure Trash is Pure Gold “Bette Stevens’s ‘Pure Trash’ is a quick and delightful read. It’s the story of a nine-year-old boy named Shawn, whose …

Source: A #FREE BOOK for YOU to download thru November 29—It’s “PURE TRASH” by Bette A. Stevens

. . .And We Thank Thee

..AND WE THANK THEE by Micki Peluso

aSpicy, aromatic whiffs of pumpkin pie, plum pudding, and candied sweet potatoes mingle with and enhance the hearty, mouth-watering smell of roasted, stuffed turkeys. Thanksgiving, a harvest festival thanking the Creator for a bountiful year, has remained virtually unchanged since the pilgrims in Massachusetts shared that first feast with Chief Massoit and some of his braves.

On Staten Island, as in homes across the nation, people will gather in love and harmony to give thanks. Holiday fare on the Island will not differ greatly from traditional foods, except for the addition of ethnic dishes, such as home-made ravioli, succulent tomato sauce, crusty loaves of Italian bread, lasagne and delectable pastries indigenous to the New York area. In Italian homes, especially, a nine course meal is not unusual.

The turkey will dominate the day, whether served in homes, hospital rooms, soup kitchens for the needy, or meals on wheels for housebound senior citizens. Restaurants across the Island will also defer to the turkey, serving those who wish to celebrate, but hate to cook. Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds people of the past, celebrates the present, and offers hope for the future; a day that gratifies body and soul.

Although Governor William Bradford, of the Plymouth Colony issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1621, the concept of giving thanks is as old as the need for worship, and dates back to the time when humanity realized its dependence upon a Higher Power.The colonists of Plymouth observed three days of feasting,games and contests following their plentiful harvest in the autumn of 1621. The journal of Governor Bradford describes the preparations for that first Thanksgiving: “They began now to gather in the swell harvest they had, and to fit their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty… Besides waterfowl, there was a great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc… Which made many afterward write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned, but true reports.”


Staten Island, at that time, was a beautiful lush wilderness, sparsely inhabited by the Aqehonga Indians, who fished, hunted deer, raccoon, and fowl, and harvested corn, pumpkins, berries and fruit. Settlers arriving from England and Holland in 1630, added sausage, head cheese and pies to the abundant game and vegetation on the Island. Twenty years ago, it was common practice for butchers to hang plucked turkeys in store windows, while grocers displayed fresh produce and jugs of apple cider.

On October 31, 1777, the Continental Congress appointed Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee, and Daniel Roberdau, to draft a resolution “to set aside a day of thanksgiving for the signal success lately obtained over the enemies of the United States.” There solution was accepted on November 1, 1777.

George Washington issued a presidential proclamation appointing November 26, 1789, as a day of general thanksgiving for the adoption of the constitution. The first national Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1863, due to the unrelenting efforts of Mrs. Sarah J. Hale. While editor of The Ladies Magazine in Boston, she penned countless editorials urging the uniform observance throughout the United States, of one day dedicated to giving thanks for blessings received throughout the year. She mailed personal letters to the governors of all the states, and to President Lincoln, persuading many governors to set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving. Her editorial was titled,”Our National Thanksgiving”, and began with a biblical quote: “Then he said to them, go your way and eat the fat and drink the sweet wine and send persons unto them for whom nothing is prepared; For this day is holy unto the lord; neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the lord is your strength.” Nehemiah, VIII:10

President Lincoln, moved by Mrs. Hale’s editorial and letter, issued the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1863, which reads in part: “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of almighty God.” Lincoln designated Thanksgiving as a day “to subdue the anger which has produced and so long sustained a needless and cruel rebellion.” The northern states, in response to the proclamation, held services in churches of all denominations, and gave appropriate sermons.

President Roosevelt, on December 26, 1941, approved the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving, to be observed in every state and the District of Columbia.

The first international Thanksgiving was held in Washington, D.C. in 1909. It was the brain-child of Rev. Dr. William T. Russell, rector of St. Patrick’s Church of Washington. Dr. Russell called it a Pan American celebration, and it was attended by representatives of all the Latin American countries. The Catholic Church was chosen for the services, since Catholicism is the religion of the Latin American countries.

St. Patrick’s Church published an account of the celebration, noting that “it was the first time in the history of the Western World that all the republics were assembled for a religious function…When asked what prompted Dr. Russell in planning a Pan American Thanksgiving celebration, Dr. Russell said, “My purpose was to bring into closer relations the Republics of the Western World. As Christianity had first taught the brotherhood of man, it was appropriate that the celebration should take the form of a solemn mass.” The Pan American celebration continued from year to year.

Some Eastern cities adopted the old world custom of dressing children in the over-sized clothes of their elders, masking their faces, and having them march through the streets blowing tin horns. The children often carried baskets, and solicited fruits and vegetables from house to house to help celebrate the day. This tradition was adapted from an old Scotch wassail custom.
The warm, loving atmosphere of this holiday has been immortalized in song, literature, and poetry, such as the well-known poem by Lydia Maria Child: “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go…”

Thanksgiving signals the onset of the joyous holiday season which continues until New Year’s Day. The only sad note is the number of people killed on the highways each year, en route to their destinations. Thanksgiving also proclaims the arrival of Santa Claus, who assumes temporary residence at the Staten Island Mall, which will be ablaze with Christmas decorations. Those shoppers brave enough to venture out on “Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, can take advantage of Island sales.

Today, more than ever, Thanksgiving is intrinsic to our time. The need to give thanks is profoundly American. As a people, we have pursued idealism, struggled for individual freedoms, and enjoyed the fruits of capitalism. Like the starship “Enterprise” on Star Trek, Americans have “dared to go where no man has gone before.” The act of giving thanks acknowledges the greater force that inspires this nation, encouraging and demanding excellence. This Thanksgiving, when stomachs are bulging with savory, traditional food, and hearts are full with love for family and friends, it is fitting to give thanks.

Stand up on this Thanksgiving Day, stand
upon your feet. Believe in man. Soberly and
with clear eyes, believe in your own time and
place. There is not, and there never has
been a better time, or a better place to live.
Poem by -Phillip Brooks

Announcing the Rave Reviews Writers’ Conference and Book Expo #RRBC

Don’t miss out on this event!

From the Pen of Mae Clair

Hey, gang! If you’re a regular follower of my blog, you know I’m a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, RRBC for short. I’ve written several posts in the past about this great community of indie and small press authors that have banned together to support each other through social media, networking and reviews. I’m coming up on a year membership renewal and I’m looking to another great year with RRBC. If you’re not familiar with how the book club works, please see my post Let’s Talk Book Clubs which is RRBC wrapped up in a nutshell.

What I really want to share with you today is something that RRBC founder, Nonnie Jules, and many dedicated members have been hard at work organizing—The Rave Reviews Writers’ Conference and Book Expo, taking place December 1-3, 2016.

Banner logo for the Rave Reviews Book Club Conference and Book Expo

Now before you start saying “Oh, I’d love to attend, but…

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Veteran’s Day–For Those Who Served For Us

All Our Love and Thanks

To all the men and women
Who’ve guarded our country’s ground
And placed themselves in harm
While we slept . . . safe and sound.

Think not that we forgot you
Please know that we’re so proud
Your sacrifice, wounds and deaths
Noble price paid. . .so well renowned

To all the men and women
Who left loved ones at home
Your pride, your strength, your guts
Keepers of freedom. . .so brave, so bold

We offer prayers of thanks
A pittance of what’s owed
As bombs burst, wounds bled
And tales of selfless bravery unfold

To all the men and women
Whose lives were and are at stake
We send love, prayer, undying faith
Our homage, and our thanks . . .amen

The Power of Fear

Myths of the Mirror


“Fear,” the man said. “Fear has long, fine fingers.”

Grigor Phelan found fear intriguing, full of subtleties, an art form one contemplated because nothing of its shape or color or texture was what it appeared. Fear spanned a spectrum from the subtle edge of respect to unbounded terror, and he was most attracted to what lay in between, in the murky hues of human sentiment. He was charmed by the guises of fear, how it hid itself from its host, how it crouched on the rim of consciousness. Like a child’s kaleidoscope, fear proved changeable, multi-faceted, and often lovely as it turned. It might wear the face of generosity or compassion, decency or loyalty, adoration or threat. It could be manipulated by the most benign of words or actions, or pace like a wolf at the edge of a nightfire, seeking a way in.  (Myths of the Mirror

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This Story Goes for the OLYMPIAN GOLD!

Snowman Paul at the Winter Olympics (Volume 2)
Written by Yossi Lapid
Illustrated by Joanna Pasek
It’s especially admirable the way that author Yossi Lapid thinks like a child when writing his charming children’s books–a high compliment for his genre.
Young Dan realizes that he has the smartest snowman in the world. Paul can even read grownup newspapers! And that talent gets him in a bit of trouble. Worse, Dan is shocked to hear that Paul plans on entering the Olympic Games and going for the Gold no less. Typical of little boys, Dan assumes Paul, a grownup snowman, is way too old to win even a Silver Award and might hurt himself trying. This makes Paul laugh. Him, fall on snow? Never, not at all!
So off they go on a bus and Paul proves Dan wrong. A snowman on snow and ice is a beauty to behold as Paul outshines all the rest and goes for the gold. Now you might guess that Paul did win, but something nags at Dan—-something not quite right. Wait until you read what was helping Paul and how he solves the problem the way a true champion might.
Once again author Yossi Lapid writes another story in the Paul the Snowman series which makes adults smile and young children laugh out loud. This story, like the others, teaches a life lesson and moral in the best way—through reading.
As usual, the illustrations are eye-catching and lovely and help to move the story forward. This book is a great choice for pre-schools, daycare centers, and kindergarten. It’s also perfect as a read-to for toddlers, by expanding their learning and word skills. This age group particularly enjoys stories that rhyme. On having read one story in this series, you’ll want to collect them all . . . and so will the kids.
This book was given to me as a gift with no obligation to review it.
Micki Peluso

2nd Halloween Poem Contest – AND THE WINNERS ARE…

Writer's Treasure Chest

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The jury has decided!

Today I’m writing representing the Jury of the 2nd Halloween Poem Contest 2016.

The winners of the contest are:

V. M. Sang with “Hallowe’en”

Micki Peluso with “Scratches”

Kim Solem with “Nightmare at Walmart”

(The names and poems are arranged in no particular order)

Thank you so much for your amazing poems, winners! You will get an email today.

Our three winners of the contest can choose one of the offered e-books.

  1. E-Book of “The truth she knew” written by J. A. Owenby
  2. E-book of  either one of the set of four “Brilliant Disguise“,  “A Good Girl“,  “Criminal Kind“, OR “Sins of My Youth“, written by Mary Ann Edwards
  3. E-book of “The Vampyre Blogs – coming home” by Allan Krummenacker


It was a difficult…

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