Category Archives: Guest Host

For Veteran’s Day

A fitting tribute to Vietnam Veteran’s Day by my friend and former Special Forces officer, Thomas Drinkard.

Pinnacle Writing

This is the first poem for Veteran’s Day.   This one is especially for Vietnam Veterans.  The Wall was paid for, not out of government funding, but from veteran’s organizations.  The poem tracks a soldier from his earliest days to his return to America.

The Wall

For the Vietnam Veterans of America

I. Roll Call

Arrayed in perfect ranks and files,
row on row,
gleaming metal and polished black,
sharp straight edges cutting the wind,
they stand
in static silent formation.
Only their nameplates speak…
a voiceless babble of American families,
no other speaks, or spoke, for them.

Soldiers should not make their own monuments

Away from this place of silence,
this place of unheard voices,
(where a limp flower hangs,
pushed into a crevice of the black stone),
the nation erected proper monuments of heroism:
sinewy white marble demigods with laurels;
or helmeted bronze men, thrusting a flagpole upright.


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Filed under Guest Host, Uncategorized, Veterans Day

New Website by Novelist, Western Historian and Friend Julia Robb

Several months ago I interviewed my friend Julia about her book Scalp Mountain. I’m pleased to announce Julia 1012439_10200980573130615_20148056_nunveiled a new website and blog today. Many of you know Julia. This is a well designed site and it reflects well on her work. I’m honored to share it with my blog followers and visitors. Please check it out and feel free to comment. I know Julia will appreciate it!

Julia Robb — Novelist & Western Historian


Filed under Book Review, Books, Guest Host, Publishing, Texas Volunteer Rangers, Writing

Guest post by Annie Neugebauer

Hello friends, fellow bloggers, authors and readers. I’m honored to introduce a friend and fellow officer of the Denton Poets’ Assembly, Annie Neugebauer. Today I’ll be sharing one of her posts on “Ways to Give Back to the Book Industry.” I know, that’s a bit self-serving, but so be it.

Ways to Give Back to the Book Industry

Annie is a short story author, novelist, and award-winning poet.

I had a wonderful birthday last week. I got many lovely wishes and some truly thoughtful and amazing gifts. It got me thinking about the act of giving, and how it’s really just a way of showing that we care. Big expensive gifts are great, but the ones that truly touch me are those that someone put time, effort, or consideration into. Really, when you break it down to its simplest form, it’s another form of communication.

And of course, since I work in the book industry, my mind took it there. I feel incredibly lucky to work in a job I truly love and in the special industry that surrounds it. It would be difficult (and sappy) of me to detail all of the many ways people in this industry have touched my life, so I’ll spare you that. Instead, I thought I would brainstorm some ways that I, and you, and all of us can give back to an industry that has given us so much.

And of course, since I work in the book industry, my mind took it there. I feel incredibly lucky to work in a job I truly love and in the special industry that surrounds it. It would be difficult (and sappy) of me to detail all of the many ways people in this industry have touched my life, so I’ll spare you that. Instead, I thought I would brainstorm some ways that I, and you, and all of us can give back to an industry that has given us so much.

Continuation of Annie’s post.

Before I finish, I’d like to share more  information about Annie Neugebauer (Twitter: @AnnieNeugebauer) is a short story author and award-winning poet. She has work appearing or forthcoming in over two dozen venues, including Buzzy Mag, The Spirit of Poe, Underneath the Juniper Tree, the British Fantasy Society journal Dark Horizons, and the National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ prize anthology Encore. She’s also a member of the Horror Writers Association, vice president of the Denton Poets’ Assembly, and president of the North Branch Writers’ Critique Group. You can visit her at for blogs, creative works, free organizational tools for writers, and more.

Use this link to view her Author Page at Amazon.


Filed under Guest Host, Introduction

Reblog: Participants – Crack Your Knuckles and Start Your Engines!

Guest post by Sandy Coelho

It’s that time of year when writers and authors take a deep breath, and step up to meet a challenge to join colleagues from across the globe and make a commitment to write a 50,000 word  novel during the month of November.

It may seem daunting but offers the potential for satisfying fulfillment. Sandy Coelho has written an inspiring article that gives all the information you need to get started. Many of the followers of this blog are writers. I encourage you to step up and give it ago!
Now I’ll turn this post over to Sandy 🙂 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Participants – Crack Your Knuckles and Start Your Engines!

NaNoWriMo is a week away. The event hosted by the Office of Letters and Light, is in its 13th year and has grown from 21 original participants to over 250,000 in 2011. The concept behind NaNoWriMo is to get people writing – anything; for 30 straight days. The objective is not quality, it’s quantity. Winners are the participants who reach the 50,000 word finish line. The aim of the OLL is to encourage writers and those who have always thought about writing to put their nose to the grindstone and just get it done!




Filed under Books, Creative Process, Guest Host, Publishing, Writing

Get Your Facts Straight: An Interview On Research For Writers With Rich Weatherly

Guest post by T. James  from his blog,
The WordOnThe.Net

Today I would like to introduce a longtime online friend of mine, Rich Weatherly, a writer who specialises in poetry and short stories with a modern-day or near-historical setting. He may single-handedly be pioneering the literary thriller as a genre. As well as being an all-round “good egg” as we British like to say—because all non-British know we learn English from Mary Poppins-like matriarchs—Rich is also methodical and thorough. So when it comes to meticulous research, Rich can definitely “bring it”—who says I don’t cater for a broad cultural audience? Anyhow, he seemed like the ideal person to answer a few questions on research and its importance in the writing process, so without further ado…

The full blog post by T.James


Filed under Author Interview, Guest Host, Writing

My Favorite Writing Advice ~ Trust The Story (Reblogged)

In the past I’ve reviewed SMALL AS A MUSTARD SEED, by Shelli Johnson. I’ve also interviewed Shelli to help my Award Winning Author, Shelli Johnsonreaders get additional insights into the background behind Shelli’s award winning book.


Shelli’s most recent blog post provides advice which I believe should be at the heart of every good story. Take a look at Shelli’s post and see if you agree!


Filed under Guest Host, Writing

‎”You Don’t Have a Real Job” — Setting the Record Straight.

Sandy Coelho is a friend and a very good writer. Being a writer, she has much in common with many of my followers and readers who, like myself, are also writers. Sandy found herself in a touchy, difficult situation but she is not the type of person to let misconceptions lie.

Her current blog post gives powerful arguments for why writers do in fact have a Real Job. Writers, I  hope you enjoy Sandy’s arguments.

For non-writers, I hope you’ll consider the points Sandy makes. Have you ever heard the parent of an artist or writer ask their son or daughter, “Why don’t you get a real job?” or “Why don’t you study to be a doctor or lawyer?” Here’s a counter to that logic.


May 4, 2012 · 12:11 pm

Guest Host – Shelli Johnson

Award Winning Author, Shelli JohnsonI approached Shelli Johnson when I prepared my review of SMALL AS A MUSTARD SEED, and asked her to consider guest hosting. We discussed topics and it seemed only fitting that she share her reasons for writing her novel. I am confident you will touched by her story and opinions. If you haven’t purchased a copy of the book, maybe this will move you to do so.

Rich Weatherly

The rest is Shelli’s post!



I am somewhat obsessed with war.

My grandfather fought for the Germans on the Russian front during World War II. My grandmother, in the middle of 1940s Germany, held their little family together by herself for more than six years. My dad had the formative years of his childhood in a war-torn environment and was still a kid when the country fell, when the Russians overtook the region where he lived. I grew up in the United States and saw through them what Hitler and the war had done to generations, not only to the men who fought but also to their families: their wives and siblings and children, how it changed all the relationships there, fractured them, sometimes beyond repair.

In the novel, Frank, the father, joined the army as a means to an end; he’d wanted money to go to college and to finally move away from the small town of Stanhope, Ohio. When the war in Korea erupts, he’s sent off to fight in subzero temperatures, without adequate equipment, and not realizing an event will occur there that triggers devastating post-traumatic stress, which will follow him home. He confuses reality with soul-searing memories, believing he’s still a soldier fighting for his life in battle-torn Korea, and that confusion leads to his daughters fearing for their lives.


I also often wondered how war changed who they could’ve been, not only my grandparents but my father, too ~ how different his life could’ve been, what choices he might’ve made or not made, what things he might’ve said or done. How might he have behaved differently if he hadn’t grown up being taught about Nazism and the Master Race? Who might he have been if he hadn’t lived through the bombing of his city or the aftermath of the Russian takeover? Looking back, I’m sure that he would’ve been a different person. But then anyone would because you can never unsee what you’ve seen, you can’t ever undo what you’ve experienced, your dead loved ones can’t live again.

Adele, the mother who had sported Frank’s ring and given him her virginity before he shipped off, who’d also had dreams of her own, wasn’t prepared at all when he came home severely wounded, a faint shadow of the man she remembered. Hobbled by her own memories and wants, Adele scrambles to keep order while Frank’s threatening and unpredictable outbursts slowly tear the family apart.


Small as a Mustard Seed came out of my exploring how war affects generations. It’s told from the point of view of a child because kids pick up on a lot, they understand a lot, even if adults think they don’t. War changes who they are, too, and maybe they only experience it indirectly ~ they aren’t on the battlefield ~ but they still experience it, the tortured aftermath of wounded soldiers and overwhelmed mothers and blindsided family friends. They may not even understand everything, but they get enough for it to change who they might’ve become, too.

Jolene, the younger sister, is headstrong & stubborn but loyal to her sister to a fault. She wants their lives to be normal, to be like everyone else’s, just school and boyfriends and sleepovers. But her father, without warning, mistakes her for a Communist, for an enemy solider or a Korean villager, and leaves her clambering to protect not only herself but her older sister as well.


There’s also the idea of how you can both hate someone, hate their behavior and what they’re doing to you, and love them at the same time because they’re your blood. How do you cope with that because it’s such a conflicting emotional situation? Maybe some people would just leave, never look back, but no matter how far you run, the ties are still there, the mental scars of years and years of violent events don’t vanish with distance, no matter how much you might wish they would. And maybe some people would stay, would internalize and blame themselves, and that destroys a soul, too.

And finally, Ann Marie, through whose eyes the entire story is told, is just trying to navigate her way through her childhood and keep herself ~ both physically and mentally ~ intact. She loves her parents fiercely and, at the same time, is helpless as a child to do anything about what’s happening around her. She loves her sister with that same intensity and is helpless, too, to make their situation any better.


Finally, there’s the idea of family and no matter how dysfunctional it may be, it’s still the thing that shapes your life and who you are. It’s about love, too, even when that doesn’t look the same for everyone, even when people do things that are misguided and wrong but the intention behind their actions is love. And too, it’s about trying to fix a mistake long after the fact even when it feels like there’s no resolution to it. It’s about the trying because you’re a family and family matters, it’s about the effort to make it right whether or not it works out.

You can read an excerpt from Small as a Mustard Seed here:


Shelli Johnson worked as a sports journalist and an editor for many years before finally following her passion and pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing. Publishers Weekly called her award-winning novel, Small as a Mustard Seed, “an intense & heartbreaking story of the fallout of war.” It’s available now as an ebook.



Filed under Author Interview, Guest Host, Literary Fiction