Reblog: April 15th – Merging Visions Reception


Every April, the Denton Poets’ Assembly teams up with artists from the Visual Arts Society of Texas (VAST) in a collaborative exhibit called Merging Visions in celebration of National Poetry Month.

The showing is free and open to the public. The Merging Visions reception will be held on April 15th from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. to celebrate the exhibit’s opening.    All poems and artwork are originals created by members of the two groups. Some of the poems are created with the artwork as inspiration, and some are inspirations for the artwork.

Location Information

The 9th annual Merging Visions Exhibit will held at the Patterson Appleton Arts Center, 400 E Hickory St, Denton, TX 76201.

The exhibit will be free and open to the public during regular art center hours, Tuesday-Friday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm and Saturday 1:00 – 5:00. The opening reception — also free and open to the public — will be held on April 15th from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.


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Reblog: 30 Years Ago Today: Challenger by Bob Mayer

On this day in 1986 I setup equipment to record the Challenger launch for my employer. The company I worked for used Thiokol O-rings under extreme conditions. It’s an irony that O-ring failure caused the tragedy and the representative for O-rings warned weather for the launch was too cold to go ahead safely. NASA refused to listen and act on that advice.


Thank you Bob for sharing this poignant reflection.

The remaining post is from Author, Bob Mayer.

“My God, Thiokol. When do you want me to launch? Next April?” Senior NASA official on a conference call to the manufacturer of the solid boosters, when they recommended on the morning of the launch that it be postponed.
Click link for the entire post. Link

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Review of Vision of the Griffin’s Heart

by Author L.R.W. Lee

Vision of the Griffin’s Heart is an emotional roller coaster. Andy Smithson is growing up while facing unprecedented challenges.

Vision of the Griffin’s Heart: Teen & Young Adult Griffin Epic Fantasy Book (Andy Smithson 5)

In Book 5 of this Andy Smithson series Andy faces his greatest challenges so far. As the heir apparent to the throan of Oomaldee, he and his family become the primary target of the evil Abbadon. The story opens with Andy and his Mom back in Lakehills, Texas. Andy has been reflecting on events just prior to his leaving Oomaldee about a year earlier when a chest appears near the family mailbox. In it, a letter from this friend Alden and one from Yara Princess of Chromlech. “The two hit it off,” after Hans the healer lead a mission to rescue her from Abbadon.

Shortly thereafter a flock 30 zolts armed with swords appeared, accompanied by a sound like thunder on a clear day. The adventure is on.
Readers of this series by author LRW Lee have come to anticipate a host of challenges, intense battles and on a monumental scale. In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, you won’t be disappointed.

Not all challenges require physical skills and acumen. As an example, while searching the contents of the attic at his home in Lakehills, Andy finds a parchment, the Prophecy of Deliverance. In the prophesy there’s a mystery. Deciphering the mystery gives clues to his fate. The prophesy begins:



The enemy borne from within appears, casting shadows, darkness, and fear.
He avenges without pity,
makes the Land’s inhabitants quake;
chaos and destruction
ravage in his wake.
Blind to the troika’s beacon,
a glow pierces the night.

This challenge and others provide guidance to Andrew, his friends and allies. Andy receives assistance from: his father, mom, his Mini-Me (sort of like his conscience), the magician Merwin and other leaders. As the story progresses, Andy realizes the people of Oomaldee can’t defeat Abbadon on their own. The allies must build a coalition with friendly states in the area to challenge Abbadon.

LRW Lee draws upon epic fantasies like Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia which to a large extent are based on Nordic myths and the Bible. These writings challenge protagonists to engage enemies in battles of good against evil. The good folks in these stories aren’t super heroes. The draw strength bonds of friendship, the participants working together toward a common goal. Sacrifices are made for the greater good of all. Friends draw upon faith from belief in a higher power, in God, and are guided by representatives of that power.

In this story Andy faces grief as people he loves either die or threatened with death. Through various means he is allowed to view and better understand, life beyond physical life, something that provides comfort if not elimination of grief.

This book shows us a more mature Andy, someone begins to understand the meaning of love and the pain that follows when love is taken away.
Andy Smithson Book 5 advances the ongoing quest as the stakes are raised. For lovers of fantasy, I consider it a must read.

L.R.W. Lee Author Page

LRW Lee author of the Andy Smithson series

Amazon Purchase Link


L. R. W. Lee is the author of the Andy Smithson juvenile fiction series of epic fantasy books for kids 9 to 99 including teens and young adult, set in medieval times with knight, magic and mythical adventures. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband and her daughter who is a Longhorn at UT Austin. Her son serves in the Air Force.

Her teen YA fantasy series includes free young adult books. Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, the series starter, is one such Kindle freebie. Lee gives away the first ebook of her teen & young adult books for free in order to let readers sample her work at no risk and so those without a large reading budget can enjoy an epic adventure.

LRW enjoys hearing from readers! Find her at:



January 13, 2016 · 9:43 am

An Interview on The Captive Boy

By Julia Robb

Friends, I want to welcome author friend, Julia Robb. Her newest release is, The Captive Boy which is the topic of this interview. I hope that after hearing what she has to say you consider purchasing this compelling read.



Cover art – The Captive BoyJulia spent 20 years as an award winning journalist before becoming a novelist. Since July 2012 she has published four 5-Star rated books on all set in West Texas. This interview covers The Captive Boy, her newest book, released on December 17th. The print version will be published next week.

Question: Julia, I’ve enjoyed reading your three previous western novels but found The Captive Boy exceptional. Why did you write this story?

First, I wanted to show readers that America’s frontier army was heroic, our troops served their country with courage and honor and did their best in a hard time and a hard place. They were tough. We have reason to be proud of them. I wish more Americans knew that.

Also, I wanted to write a story showing readers what happened to white captive kids. After they were recovered, they were emotionally unstable people who couldn’t maintain jobs or relationships. They didn’t feel at home in the white culture, the free-wheeling Indian culture was gone (living on the reservation was not like living with a nomadic tribe). Those kids were sad and never again found a real home. I was, and am, sad for them.


Question: Tell my readers about your protagonist, Mac McKenna. I think he’s a compelling character and a respected leader by those who served under him. Is he based on a historic character?


Yes, Mac is based on Col. (later General) Ranald Mackenzie. Mackenzie was a hero, and he is my hero. He got the job done. He never gave up. He beat the Comanches. He didn’t want to kill, but he did his duty. I also see him as having been a lonely, isolated man who wanted to love and be loved but he never got the chance. I gave Mac many of these traits, including, kind of, Mackenzie’s fate. But Mac’s fate is a metaphor for what happened to Mackenzie.


I felt Mac on a deeper level than my other protagonists. He was inside me. I love him, which is natural, I guess, as I am the only person in the world who thoroughly understands him.


Also, I want to add, I have some of Mackenzie’s letters, written while he was commander at Fort Sill (the army fort and the Comanche and Kiowa reservation), and those letters prove Mackenzie was a humane and wise administrator. So, naturally I can tell you my Mac was both humane and wise, both as administrator and soldier.


Question: Tell us about the title character, August Shiltz. I suspect his definition of captive would be quite different from Mac’s definition.


Yes, August didn’t see himself as a captive until he was retaken by Mac’s troops. He was brainwashed. After all, his Indian parents were the only ones he could remember. It’s like being dropped on Mars and adopted by the natives. The trauma destroys previous memories.


I checked with a psychologist to find out what this kind of trauma would do to people, and then I used what the psychologist said. They have Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.


But August did understand after…oops, almost had to add a spoiler alert.


Question: Julia, you used a writing style that made the events leap off the page for me. Your scenes were like reading from a current news story; like an anthology or journal. Would you care to comment on this choice, maybe set the reader’s expectation?


I just came to it by happenchance, by fooling around. In some ways, writing a novel is like growing a garden; you water the plants, you weed, you introduce new plants. One thing leads to another. Then before you know it, it’s harvest time.


Question: The Captive Boy must have taken an enormous amount of research. Would you like to give us some background on that process? It seems to have been based in large measure on historical events.


I read everything I could find about Mackenzie and his troops, about the Red River War, about the frontier cavalry, about the country and its terrain, about Comanches, about white captives, and I’d been doing this for years before I started formal research. I had compiled a 100-page research book before writing one word.


Almost everything in the novel, as regarding events, really happened. I changed some things for novelistic purposes, but not much.


Do you remember the scene where the Comanches attacked soldiers in the night and the horses panicked and went so wild they pulled the stakes (holding them) from the ground? The stakes then went flying through the air. That made those stakes lethal weapons. That really happened.


Of course, the scenes between characters only happened in my head. Except for the scene with Gen. Sherman, when Mac and Sherman found out the Comanches had destroyed a teamster train and killed most of the teamsters.


Question: We’ve touched on your main characters. Do you have anything to share about the supporting cast of characters?


I loved all of them so much, and I miss them. I loved Eliza who told her friend Jane about everything she saw and heard in Col. McKenna’s quarters, I loved Asha, August’ eventual wife and Asha’s relationship with Mac. I loved it that Mac loved August and he also desired his wife (that’s quite a three-cornered dilemma, isn’t it)?

I loved Sgt. Major Pruitt, who told tall stories and loved baseball and loved his baseball team, I loved Sam Brennan, Mac’s adjutant, who was a brilliant anthropologist and naturalist, actually a kind of Leonardo De Vinci.


Sam was based on a real soldier, John Bourke, author of “On the Border With Crook,” the all-time best frontier memoir.


Question: What would you like to share about the time and place; the landscape where The Captive Boy took place?


Tough country. The Southern Great Plains are not flat but rolling and covered with thorny plants so sharp they can cut your arteries open. Very little good water. The canyon country (as you know Richard) drops from level ground. First, you’re riding on level land and then the bottom just drops 1,000 feet.

Climbing from the base of the Cap Rock toward the rim. Photo by Julia Robb

Men went blind from riding in the sun day after day, and died of heat stroke, and dysentery (from drinking contaminated water), and snakebite, and, of course, war wounds.


The Comanche often used barbed arrows (which were nearly two feet long) and you couldn’t just pull them out. They had to be cut out. Not good. Wounded men often died from infection, and even lockjaw.


Question: This book is somewhat different from your western novels. Would you like to comment on its genre?


It’s an historical novel. Historical novels are supposed to educate readers on the time and place, and why things were as they were. I hope I’ve done that.


Question: Do you have any additional comments you would like to share, Julia?

Yes, you’re a good guy Richard. Thanks for the interview.



Thank you again, Julia! I appreciate your answers, your efforts to lift up the heroic soldiers, to humanize the Comanche and your dedication to presenting realistic events through fiction. I have found that it’s often easier to present truth through fiction as opposed to biased and alleged fact.

Click here for the link to: The Captive Boy

For my review of The Captive Boy, click here.

For a list of Julia  Robb’s biography, other books and purchase links, click here

Short Bio of Julia Robb

I’ma former journalist and editor-I spent 20 years in the newspaper business-51pfsindzal-_uy200_

and I’m now a free-lance writer/editor in Marshall,
Texas. For fun, I drive across Texas, to the deserted corners, the wide spaces, heading west past Waco, watching the mesas fl
oat in the distance.


Filed under Comanche, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Texas

Reblog: Billy The Kid–To Hell on a Fast Horse

Friends, Julia Robb is a former reporter and active novelist who writes western fiction. In her latest blog, she interviews Mark Gardner and expert in western history about the events connecting Billy The Kid and Pat Garrett. Julia Robb begins with the following.

Readers, Mark Gardner is the author of To Hell on a Fast Horse: The Untold Story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett and Shot All To Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape



begins with the following:Click the link below for the complete story.

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In Memoriam – Attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941

I’ve shared posts about the attack on Pearl Harbor in the past. My Dad, A.C. Weatherly Jr. served aboard U.S.S. Raleigh CL-7. Attacked at 7:55 a.m. per the after action report, she was one of the first ships hit by torpedo in the attack on Pearl Harbor. An hour later, she took an armour piercing bomb that barely missed a ready magazine and aviation gas fuel tank for their catapult plane. He was getting ready for liberty when the torpedo struck.

AceWeatherly1941_R1In memoriam of the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. Please see the link following:

December 12, 1941
From: Commander William H. Wallace, U.S. Navy,
Executive Officer.
To: Captain R.B. Simons, U.S. Navy, Commanding.

Subject: Engagement of December 7, 1941, Report on.



My author friend, Patty Wiseman’s father was also serving on the Releigh that day. As a matter of fact, that’s how we met.

The rest of this post consists of official U.S. Navy action reports concerning the timing, actions by the officers and crew and damage reports. The commanding officer had high praise for the dedication and heroism by the Raleigh crew.

Quotation from the commanding officer, R.B. Simmons —

Upon my return I found all officers and men who were aboard at their stations, in high spirits, apparently only hoping that the enemy would return so that they could have another crack at them. The morale was exceptionally high.At this time the ship was in a precarious position due to the damage resulting from the torpedo hit and the bomb hit.”

The reports

  1. About 0755 on the morning of December 7, 1941, I was in my cabin drinking a cup of coffee when I heard and felt a dull explosion in the ship. Looking out my airport I saw the water boiling amidships. I started up to the bridge and was met by lieutenant Taylor who reported that the Japanese were attacking the Fleet. All hands were called to general quarters and about five minutes later this ship opened fire with the anti-aircraft battery of 3″/50 caliber, 1/1″ and .50 cal. guns.

  2. Ensign J.W. Werth, USN, was controlling the starboard battery and Ensign J.R. Beardall, Jr., USN, the port battery, both doing a splendid job. The guns were magnificently handled; all hands from chief petty officers to mess boys volunteering to fill out the regular gun crews and keep ammunition supplied.

  3. The ship started to heel over to port and it was reported that an airplane torpedo had struck #2 fireroom, flooding it, and that #1 fireroom was the steaming fireroom, but all fires went out due to water and oil. The damage control party under Ensign H.S. Cohn, D-V(G), USNR and Carpenter R.C. Tellin, USN, was directed to counterflood to bring the ship on an even keel, and they handled their jobs to perfection.

  4. It appeared, however, that the ship would capsize. Orders were given for all men not at the guns to jettison all topside weights and to put both airplanes in the water first. Both planes were successfully hoisted out by hand power alone, and were directed to taxi over to Ford Island and report for duty, along with all the aviation detail on board. The senior doctor was directed to report to the U.S.S.Solace, to aid in caring for the injured and wounded from other ships (we had no dead and only a few wounded on this ship). An oxy-acetylene outfit and crew were sent over to the capsized U.S.S.Utah to cut out any men in the hull. One man was rescued and this man, as soon as he took a deep breath, insisted on going back to see if he could rescue any of his shipmates. A signal was sent to send pontoons and a lighter from alongside the Baltimore to this ship, and they were delivered expeditiously and secured to our port quarter with steel hawsers under the ship and acted as an outrigger. Extra manila and wire lines were run to the quays to help keep the ship from capsizing.

  5. Our torpedoes, minus their warheads, were pushed overboard by hand and beached at Ford Island. Both torpedo tubes, both catapults, the steel cargo boom, were all disconnected and jettisoned by hand power. Also, all stanchions, boat skids and life rafts and booms were jettisoned. Both anchors were let go.

  6. Shortly after 0900 a glide-bombing attack came in which met with a warm reception. Many near misses fell about the ship. Only one bomb hit. This bomb hit #7 3″ ready ammunition box a glancing blow and went through the carpenter ship, then through an oil tank, piercing the skin on the port quarter below the water line, and finally detonating on the bottom of the harbor about fifty feet from the ship. In its flight this bomb went over the heads of the gun crew of #7 3″ gun and also passed very close to our two large tanks containing 3000 gallons of high-test aviation gasoline. This plane machine-gunned the ship also.

  7. Apparently the enemy planes had expected to find the Lexington and Enterprise near our berth and fired at the Utah and Raleigh, as the carriers were fortunately not in. When it appeared that the ship might not capsize or sink (the water was 45′ deep at our berth) Ensign J.H. COYLE, USN, of the Raleigh, was told to see if he could find an oil bottom that was free from water and to raise steam in either #3 or 34 fireroom, as water was getting in to the after engine room and #3 and #4 firerooms, and if they were flooded there would be little hope of keeping the ship afloat. This was done and the pumps started.

  8. Meanwhile the gun crews on the top side kept up a heavy and accurate fire. Five bombing planes which this ship had under fire and on which hits were observed, were seen to crash close aboard, either in flames or in fragments.

  9. It would be difficult to single out all individuals who acted above and beyond the call of duty, as the conduct of every one was magnificent. The commanding officer, however, was particularly pleased to note that the junior officers and non-rated men acted like veterans and their spirit and morale was only heightened by the surprise attack.

  10. As this ship has been in the Hawaiian Detachment for over two years, many of the married officers and men live ashore when not in the duty section. When the attack opened, the acting gunnery officer, chief engineer, and damage control officers were all Ensigns. Those officers and men who were ashore reported back to the ship most expeditiously and participated valiantly in the last plane attack. After the attack and during the night of December 7th, the ship would vary in list from 11 degrees port to 8 degrees starboard without any apparent reason and was very tender.

  11. The tugs Sunnadin and Avocet came alongside during the afternoon and furnished light, steam and food as fast as practical and their services were very helpful.

  12. Damage to enemy: The following ammunition was expended on this vessel during the day:

    3″/50 caliber 266 rounds
    .50 caliber 9990 rounds
    1.1″ 3270 rounds

    Many planes were taken under fire from time to time without apparent results. However, there were five planes destroyed which this vessel registered hits on and assisted in their destruction, namely:

    #1 – Bomber flew over stern from starboard to port, burst into flames over Raleigh and crashed on deck of U.S.S. Curtiss.

    #2 – Plane flew over bow from starboard to port and crashed near Pearl City.

    #3 – Plane flying north on our starboard beam crashed in water between Dobbin and Baltimore.

    #4 – Plane off our stern flying over air station towards Curtiss was hit by a 3″ shell and was blown to pieces in the air.

    #5 – A plane flying across our stern had its tail blown off and fell over by Pearl City without burning or great damage. The pilot may have escaped.

  13. One torpedo ran between the bow of the Raleigh and the stern of the Detroit and apparently sank in shoal water at Ford Island without exploding and is still there.

  14. The end of the bomb that went through the port quarter of this ship was recovered from the damaged fuel tank and was forwarded to Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet.

  15. Damage control and salvage efforts are being continued successfully at the time of this report.


Copy to:






December 12, 1941
From: Commander William H. Wallace, U.S. Navy,
Executive Officer.
To: Captain R.B. Simons, U.S. Navy, Commanding.
Subject: Engagement of December 7, 1941, Report on.
Reference: (a) Art. 948, U.S. Navy Regulations.
  1. Being on authorized shore leave the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, I did not witness the engagement between enemy planes and the U.S.S. Raleigh, I succeeded in returning to the ship about 1000, Sunday, December 7, at which time all enemy action had ceased.

  2. Upon my return I found all officers and men who were aboard at their stations, in high spirits, apparently only hoping that the enemy would return so that they could have another crack at them. The morale was exceptionally high.At this time the ship was in a precarious position due to the damage resulting from the torpedo hit and the bomb hit. The ship gave every indication of capsizing. Although this fact was self-evident, o person showed any desire to leave his post or the ship.The Anti-Aircraft battery of 3″, 1.1 and 50 caliber, had been manned and opened fire with great rapidity. Most of the crews were firing for the first time. Despite this it was reported that the Raleigh was credited with three enemy planes and a probable fourth. Ammunition parties were quickly functioning and no shortage of ammunition resulted.

    Compartments were counterflooded promptly and in the proper sequence. The Damage Control Organization, directed by the Damage Control Officer, has worked constantly day and night to keep the ship afloat. Their efforts have been ably directed and should be crowned with success.

  3. The Engineers, ordered topside, fearlessly reentered the after boiler and engine spaces. lighting off, with water over the floor plates, to raise steam and get pumps running.Coffee and sandwiches were prepared by the Commissary department and distributed to the crew at their station.Orders were carried out promptly and without confusion. The rapidity and good seamanship displayed in getting both planes over the side without damage, in jettisoning heavy topside weights, such as catapults, torpedo tubes, boat skids, etc., were all done without power on the ship, contributing materially in saving the ship.

  4. Regular week-end shore leave and liberty had been granted over Saturday, December 6, and Sunday, December 7. Liberty parties were unusually large as Friday, December 5, was pay day. The third officer duty section and the port watch had the duty. In addition to yourself and the officer duty section; which consisted of Lieutenant R.H. Taylor, USN, Lieutenant J.W. Geist, USN, Ensign D.L. Korn, A-V(N), USNR, Ensign W.H. Game, USN, Ensign J.M. Werth, USN, and Machinist G.S. Cummins, USN; the following officers were on board when the action commenced: Ensign J.J. Coyle, USN, Ensign J.F. Steuckert, USN, Ensign R.C. Collins, D-V(G) USNR, Ensign J.R. Beardall, jr., USN, Ensign J. Scapa, D-V(G) USNR, Ensign G.S. Morrow, jr., E-V(G), USNR, Lieutenant (jg) D.M. Fox (DC) USN, Electrician T.R. Tate, USN, and Carpenter R.C. Tellin, USN. All officers, except Lieutenant Commander H. Hains, on leave and not on the Island of Oahu, and men, except a few detained at the Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor, by competent authority on other duty, returned to the ship promptly and as rapidly as means of transportation was available.

  5. During the engagement and afterward, when steps were being taken to save the ship, no incident has been reported to me of any individual, officer or man, deserving of censure. On the contrary every report of individual action by officers and men has been of a commendable nature. The organization of the ship as a whole, especially the Gunnery Department and the Damage Control Department, proved their worth and functioned under surprise and stress. All officers and men, as they returned to the ship, picked up and helped carry the load. I am unable to pick out individual cases deserving of praise above others. I believe all officers and men on the U.S.S. Raleigh have the right to be proud of their behavior and their performance of duty. They were tried and found not wanting, especially those officers and men who were fortunate enough to be aboard during the action.

That concludes the official reports from the U.S. Navy Archives.


U.S.S. Raleigh following repairs inWashington


Filed under 17 Dec 1941 a Day of Infamy, 7 Dec 1941 a Day of Infamy, Word War 2

My Review of The Music of Us

frontcoverAuthor Uvi Posnansky shares my review about about a young Marine who meets a beautiful pianist at the beginning of WWII. Their lives will never be the same again. Click the link below for the full review of this powerful story about two young people drawn together while facing difficult obstacles.

book, Link to my review of, The Music of Us

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