“Droughtlander” is Nearly Over: Outlander Cast Panel

“If I had  any idea of all you (fans) out there, I might not have shown up first day on set,” joked Caitriona Balfe at the Paley Fest Outlander panel Thursday night at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood.

148 Entering along the same walkway that is covered by red carpet every Oscars night, I couldn’t help but notice the police presence as officers lined the centre of Hollywood Boulevard in protection of Barrack Obama, taping his visit to Jimmy Fallon at one of  the theaters across the street.

*click on photos to see larger*

In 1945, married WWII nurse, Claire Beauchamp Randall finds herself transported back to Scotland 1743, where she encounters civil war and the dashing Highland warrior, Jamie Fraser.

“Droughtlander” ended for those in attendance as Episode 109, “The Reckoning”, premiere segment to be aired upon the April 4th return-to-cable (Starz) TV series based on the immensely popular international smash novels by author Diana Gabaldon filled the screen.

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Nearly bringing the house down, hero Jamie Fraser, implored villainous Black Jack Randall to “take your hands off my wife” whilst pointing a flintlock pistol directly at his nemesis, the lecherous English officer. Anyone who has read the first in the series of Outlander books knows what is to happen next, but that did not dilute the glee of the audience as the scene unfolded. No spoilers…

“E” ‘s  Kristin Dos Santos moderated the evening. She passed around scotch to the entire panel, asking them True or False, “I have never” questions, followed by a focus on Cait and Sam with white boards as they answered “What was your favorite…” series of queries.133 Everyone had to drink if they answered in the affirmative.  All in good fun, bringing lots of laughter.

Executive producer, Ron Moore, first to take the stage, added the perspective of behind the camera. He praised the wedding episode’s female director for doing such an amazing job. (Referring to the authenticity of the wedding night sex, Moore said “When you do something truthful, it becomes the female poit of view.”) When an audience member echoed Patrcia Arquette’s feminine equality comment during her Oscar acceptance speech,  shouting “Did she get equal pay?”, supportive laughter and applause filled the room.

Actors, Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser), Caitriona Balfe (Claire), Tobias Menzies, (Frank Randall and Black Jack Randall) represented the cast. Author Diana Gabaldon rounded out the panel with her complimentary and authentic praise of the book-turned-television series that “the readers have waited twenty three years to see come to life”. The first of the series, “Outlander” was written as an experiment to see if “I could write a (fiction) book.”


“Will the show stray from the books?” was asked of Moore.


“The intent is to stay true to the story. That said, we have given Frank a broader part in the first half of the series, so that will continue.”  Moore  promised a boxed set of the complete season one by Christmas to include some of the podcasts he has done as insight into the ‘making-of”.

Tobias was asked how he makes his two characters so eerily different. Self deprecating to the end, he insisted that it was the writing, production and costumery that place his Jeckle and Hyde across time look alikes so apart. “I hope it is subtle.”094

Sam admitted with pride to doing nearly all his own stunts.

112He will run the LA Marathon this Sunday for his favorite charity. “Do you have an a** double?,” asked the moderator, tongue in cheek. Sam never did answer that, laughing it off as he sipped his scotch. Yes, Sam smelled of scotch and clean, but then so did the whole of the panel ;)





116When asked what her parents thought of her role, Cait said there was nothing but ‘crickets’ from her dad, but that her sister said he does enjoy her work.

Fans rushed the stage at the panel’s conclusion with a gracious, Sam and Cait signing many autographs.

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The fan that wore a “Sassenach” tshirt, riding home on light rail afterwards, proudly showed off “SAM” scrawled in shaky capital black sharpie-pen letters on the fabric of her shoulder. “Isn’t it amazing?”

Yes—it was.






All images except Starz Poster, by C.London

Posted in Film Festival, Film Premiere, Hollywood, Hollywood Event | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Salmon and Yam Salad

Just assembled an amazing salad. You really can discover the most incredible flavor combinations if you’re not afraid to mix together stuff you have on hand.

Salmon and Yam Salad

2 cans salmon
2 stalks celery diced
¼ onion diced
¼ cup mayo
2 Tblsp dill pickle relish

Mix together and refrigerate.

Greens/Vegies: whatever you have around the fridge and/or garden.

Grow Your Own poster I used snap peas, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, celery leaves, spinach leaves, kale, romaine, green onions diced

Microwave one yam until soft, Peel skin and dice flesh. Add to salad while still warm.

Dressing: basalmic vinegar and olive oil in equal portions—mixed with 1 to 2 diced cloves of garlic

Oh my Gosh–this was de-lish!



image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

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Free Read: The Theatre Encounter

Was that him? Kay raised the Playbill to cover the bottom half of her face just below her eyes. She watched him cross the stage, weaving his way through the dozen or so other actors who populated the silvery stage light.


How many times had she dreamed of a rare moment such as this? In years past she’d gone to see his films, stood in the damp chill of evening to attend red carpet events where he’d been one of the actors in the spotlight, seen him at film panel discussions. But he’d changed since then. Or maybe she had.


No one stopped to chat with him. He pressed by two guys at stage’s edge and galloped down the side stairs into the crowd of people who stood around the front few rows of the theatre as though attending a cocktail party.


Dream when you’re feeling blue. The lyrics from the old song drifted through her mind. Her Playbill slowly drooped, her breathing shallow.




“What?” She jumped, dropping the Playbill to her lap.


“Nancy and Paul said to tell you they’d catch up with you later at the club.” Bill stood in the aisle in front of her, his tall, lanky body casting a shadow over her face.


“K,” she said, scooping the Playbill from her lap and smoothing it open on the folds of her skirt. She half smiled and nodded.


“Yeah, well, okay,” Bill stumbled over his words. Too bad she never could see him as more than a friend. But that’s just the way it was. “Uh, see ya then.” He turned and disappeared into the crowd. That’s not where her gaze needed to be right now though. She needed to see where Jackson went.


Jackson Bartlett. Star of action, rom com and the occasional indie film, he’d entered the Hollywood scene late in life. He must have been thirty when he got his first big roll. But that was fifteen years ago and he’d never gone much beyond the lower “A-list”.


Kay had come to realize that perhaps it wasn’t meant to be. He was what he was—a gorgeous man with what Hollywood deemed only adequate acting skills. Had he been a woman, he would have long since fizzled out into the shadows­–too old to be a starlet and not seen as good enough or lucky enough to land a role with real meat.


But Jackson was a man. And men aged into distinguished, classy, gritty or grizzled action figures long after female stars were seen as no longer porcelain flawless.


Kay had no idea he’d be here. This was true happenstance. She rose and walked toward the cocktail crowd. She craned her neck to see around bothersome tall men and stiletto teetering women.


“Wait a minute,” she said in the general direction of where she’d seen him disappear. Someone passed her, struck her on the shoulder, her teeth sinking into her tongue. She grabbed onto the top of one of the theatre seats, cradling her jaw in one hand as the taste of iron filled her mouth.


She didn’t quite see stars, but the pain knocked the wind and senses from her. Her eyes watered, her knees rubbery beneath her.

“Are you all right?” His unmistakable Scottish baritone sent a bolt of electricity directly through her. She coughed, as a soft cotton handkerchief pressed into her hand and lifted to her mouth, a firm hand at her shoulder. Another moment and she was in his arms, he holding her firmly against his chest.


“I think you need to sit down.” He steered her though a fog of people. Somehow she did not fall. A few moments later they were back stage in dim near silence. He pressed her onto a leather sofa, it against a wall. The chatter of the crowd a distance drone, his presence filled her like a sudden summer shower.


His weight dented the cushion next to her. She looked up and into the most beautiful green blue eyes she’d ever seen. She nearly sucked the cloth she held to her lips into her mouth.


The years, the distance, the doubt fell away.


Hollywood had gotten to him, he disappearing into the parties, hidden behind bodyguards –untouchable. The small town young man seemed to have changed into a plastic ‘star’…until now.


“I’m okay,” she mumbled through the fabric, sounding like a drunkard, thick tongued. Stupid.


“I saw you grimace and nearly fall,” he said. His arm around her, he pushed the long fringe of hair from her forehead. Her face was suddenly molten. “You’ve bitten your tongue, haven’t you? I’ve done the same more times than I care to admit.”


See gazed at him through liquid eyes. Don’t cry. Drawing in a restorative lungful of chilly backstage air, she squared her shoulders.


“Fine. I’m really fine.”


His solid hold on her loosened as he released her to her own recognisance. Damn it.


Kay squeezed the handkerchief in hand and gathered herself into some semblance of control. “Thank you.”


“It’s nothin’,” he said, large hands covering his knees. He wore blue jeans, a white button down cotton shirt and concern.


He studied her, signature deep furrowing vertical between his brows. The same expression seen on movie posters worldwide advertising his tortured character in the romantic tragedy a dozen years ago, now pierced into her.


“Come on then? Let’s go.” His expression changed to invitation. Had she false teeth, she was sure they’d be on the floor. Before she had the presence to object or confirm, he’d taken her hand and led her along the narrow hallway past the dressing rooms and out the back stage door.


Yellow streetlamp light shimmered on the puddles that dotted the alleyway. Three metal dumpsters huddled against the brick wall of the building next door and the bothered song of courting cats rang through the cold air.


“I’m sorry,” he said, pausing to the right of her. “I’m Jack.” He offered his hand.


Kay laughed. “Thanks, uh, yes. I know. I mean, I recognize you.”


The smile that tugged the corners of his mouth up in a most boyish way, straightened.


“No—I mean, thank you.” She grabbed his hand with both of hers and shook it heartily.


His brows fell as a quizzical expression darkened his face. “Have we met before?”


“In a manner of speaking, yes.” The impulse to lie raced through her, dismissed at the very sight of his authenticity. “I asked you a question once at Comic Con.


He chuckled. “No wonder I don’t remember you clearly. I’m afraid there are dozens and dozens of questions asked at every conference.” His mirth faded as he appraised her expression. “I mean there are so many women, uh, I would have remembered you had the lighting—“


“You don’t have to explain, let alone apologize.” Kay rested a hand on his forearm. “I totally understand.”


He opened his mouth as to speak, drawing in a short breath. Then as though erasing the thought that clouded his face, his gaze turned warm again. He lowered his face to within inches of hers. The smell of aftershave and amaretto mingled in the space between them. It was one of those moments that must have truly been just a moment, but the enormity of what seemed to be happening between them extended the brevity of time into a never to be forgotten exchange.


“I’m sorry,” he said, breaking the spell.


She searched his eyes. “I’m not.”


His lips parted, his breathing suddenly deeper. He lifted a hand to her cheek, his palm warm, leaned in and kissed her gently as to beg for so much more.


Kay opened her eyes as he drew back. “Okay,” she whispered.


“Okay, what?”


She slipped her hand into his. “Let’s go.”


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Palm Springs Hidden Oasis

Spending the weekend with my dear second cousins in California’s Coachella Valley was so much more than just family fun. Palm Springs Fan Palms 3Walking through the ancient groves of palms, ground made damp by recent showers, echoes of a similar experience in Northern California’s redwoods–spiritual.

Palm Springs Fan Palms 4







From the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve to Palm Canyon on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, we trekked the still canyons. Palm Springs Narrow Passage 2Indigenous flora and fauna, which the Cahuilla people so expertly used and abundant California Fan Palm trees are contrasts to the rocky, cactus dotted gorges and barren desert lands beyond.Palm Springs Fan Palms Lunn & Marlee A moderately graded, foot path winds down into the canyon.




In the shade of the palms, reconstructed native huts are dwarfed by the majestic trees. Wearing dry fronds that drape to the ground, the silence is broken only by the occasional dry whisper of a palm seed dropping through the spent hula-like natural skirts of the trees.

Palm Springs Fan Palms Indian Hut





A visit to the Bird Song and Dance Festival furthered the native American theme of the weekend. Palm Springs Bird Songs, Native AmericansThrough the ages, bird singing and dancing have been an important part of native culture for the tribes in the Southern California and neighboring regions. Bird songs tell stories about the lessons learned during the travels native people undertook trying to better understand the birds and their migratory patterns. They are a completely oral tradition, dependent upon transfer from teacher to student.

Palm Springs OasisPalm Springs Fan Palms 6A visit to the Palm Springs area can be a true exploration…


Palm Springs Oasis with Larry


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Speaking Through the Lens of Affluence – A Wonderful Life?

“I’ve had every kind of rotten job you can imagine growing up and getting myself through school,” said speaker of the house, John Boehner on TV’s 60 minutes, “and I wouldn’t have had a chance at half those jobs if the federal government had kept imposing higher minimum wage. Low income jobs help people get skills and they can climb the economic ladder.”empty pockets

Really? What about the thousands of people who can only qualify for a minimum wage job because of the oppressive hand of poverty, lack of education, family support or disability? Should they be forced to live in squalor or remain in poverty so that more advantaged people can ‘get skills’ and ‘climb the economic ladder’?

homeless man

Should those same ‘ladder climbers’ have to share a couch at a friends house or sleep in their car while they are gaining those skills? Are we as a people so married to our cheap fast food and clothing that we refuse to allow a few pennies rise in the price of that hamburger or pair of jeans so that those who flip that burger, clean those public restrooms and stock the store shelves be given the hard earned right to decent housing and food –no matter their reason or need for working that minimum wage job?

As Jimmy Stewart’s character, George Bailey, from the film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” said to stone hearted banker, Mr. Potter, about the everyman in their town “they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?” 

Utterings, such as those by Mr Boehner–  when spoken by people who never lived life without the safety net of family and friends display, at best, ignorance–at worst a repugnant arrogance.

However, Mr Boehner did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth, as you might suspect. Second of twelve children, parents who slept on a pull out couch, modest one bath two bedroom family home, he took seven years to work his way through college. His siblings are blue collar, most still living in the same Ohio small town. He worked hard to climb that ladder.

So why do people who have experienced financial challenges expect everyone to be able to ‘pull themselves up by the bootstraps’? What hardens their heart or averts their eye from the huge numbers of everyday people who, though no fault of their own, find the challenges insurmountable? And why do they think it is somehow beneficial to anyone to allow the upwardly mobile path to remain more difficult than it needs to be—could be— be given a living wage, if those struggling were afforded those ‘couple of decent rooms and a bath’?


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The Timeless Power and Truth of ‘Selma’

I had the honor of attending a screening of the new film, Selma, last night. David Oyelowo is mesmerizing as Martin Luther King, Jr. in Director Ava DuVernay’s powerful and passionately crafted film .

Brilliantly acted, never pious, the humanizing of Martin Luther King without detracting from his timeless greatness make Selma a must see, especially for those who did not live this recent history. That said, Selma is not a biopic of the late Dr. King, rather a look at a pivotal three month span of time in 1964. The chilling blatant racism of the white power structure of the time is forcefully transcended by the raw courage of the everyday people that put their lives on the line in the only way toward meaningful change–non violence– remaining a lesson for our times and generations to come.

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant, most notably in certain areas of the south, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, their efforts culminating in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Do not miss this.


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Glasgow Autumn

DSCN3349From a fabulous bubbly and fruit send off, to soaring over the verdant patchwork of the English countryside, DSCN3355to a quick plane change at Gatwick airport just outside London, my arrival in Glasgow was the culmination of many months of anticipation. Both my friend, Viv, and I had many moments of wondering if finances would fall in place and our health cooperate, but on October 20th we finally met.


Viv took a cab to the airport and escorted me to the West End where her adorable Victorian flat in nestled on a hill just above Glasgow’s Great Western Highway and Byres Road. The neighbourhood is a short stroll away from the gorgeous Botanic Gardens and DSCN3408 DSCN3365Kelvin River. Miles of paved walkway parallel the water. In late October, an autumnal splash of colour paints the trees.

The Kelvin walkway along the river of the same name is welcome respite in bustling Glasgow. Bright autumn foliage and the shush of rushing water soothe.


Ashton Lane’s famous Ubiquitous Chip graces the entrance to this charming restaurant and boutique-dotted street. DSCN3398DSCN3397DSCN3395DSCN3496DSCN3510Along the high street grocers are stocked with Scottish fare ranging from dozens of cheeses, to sausages, Scottish Eggs and, of course, haggis.DSCN3457














A few subway stops away is City Centre where major departments stores lure customers with their gleaming interiors. Glaswegians gather to access some of the best restaurants in town. Downtown “City Centre” shopping pedestrian-only area is full of large name shops. Side streets trendy boutiques.


Princes Place is a beautiful multilevel shopping mall every bit as high fashion as any in Europe. “I Love Glasgow”—indeed.


It is the local shops that provide daily needs and are as charming as they are colourful. Yes, fishmongers nudge up beside cheese shops and pubs. The bakers and butchers live in the area of the people they serve. There is a true, old fashioned feel of neighbourhood.

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Glasgow reputation of grit, soot and working class is but a memory that has made the city strong and diverse.

A couple blocks from Viv’s flat is Glasgow University. Higher education is a Scottish right, enrollment free to all who meet scholastic entrance qualifications. DSCN3523 DSCN3530Architecture the stuff of Harry Potter and dreams, the campus impressive inside as out.


DSCN3519 DSCN3521 DSCN3525 DSCN3533 DSCN3535

The Hunterian museum is housed on campus, its Viking ship roof bolstered by sturdy iron columns. DSCN3688







Glasgow University School of Law hides on a side street.DSCN3677







DSCN3706 DSCN3705 A dueling duo I ran across under the ‘cloisters roof’ is something you may not expect to see every day.




Viv’s Victorian tenement’s ten-foot ceilings were the stuff of our disdain as we teamed together to paint her cozy living room. Redecorating is foremost on Viv’s mind as she strives to make her place truly her own.DSCN3581 DSCN3582 DSCN3583


Supermarket highlights include an amazing variety of breads and deli items. Produce is expensive, but abundant.DSCN3584 DSCN3585 DSCN3586
















We spent an afternoon in the City Chambers downtown. It has functioned as the headquarters of Glasgow City Council since 1996, and of preceding forms of municipal government in the city since 1889, located on the eastern side of the city’s George Square. An eminent example of Victorian civic architecture, the building was constructed between 1882 and 1888 to a competition winning design by Scottish architect William Young a native of Paisley. DSCN3632 DSCN3660 DSCN3654 DSCN3658 DSCN3616 DSCN3609DSCN3599 DSCN3600

Short days and long cold nights lent well to good conversation and film festivals at home. The days flew by, the best of which were spent with some of Viv’s family over a curry dinner. Thank you uncle Thomas and godspeed.

From humorous taxi drivers, to the firemen who arrived on our doorstep within minutes of a call about smoke in our close, to the girls serving at the ‘chippy’ round the corner (fantastic fish ‘n chips. Dare I say outshines London’s?) to a pair of street workers who sang to us as we passed…”lovely ladies”… DSCN3752the character of a people comes out in their everyday workers and interactions. Glaswegian accents vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, not all the standard Billy Connolly/ Gerard Butler variety. Some even sound very close to standard American. One thing remains constant across the board–the warmth and good nature of the people of this city by the Clyde.



My farewell dinner at The Bothy was a delicious Sunday roast followed by sticky toffee pudding. Wait staff wear kilts and every table adorned with heather.DSCN3738 DSCN3736 DSCN3733 DSCN3724 DSCN3723


The local pub, Curlers Rest, has been a fixture in Glasgow for centuries.DSCN3742              DSCN3761


Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has one of the finest collections of arms and armour in the world and a vast natural history collection. The art collection includes many outstanding European artworks, including works by the Old Masters, French Impressionist, Dtch renaissance, Scottish Colourists and exponents of the Glasgow School. DSCN3766 DSCN3768 DSCN3791  The gallery is located on Argyle Street in the West End of the city, on the banks of the River Kelvin. It is adjacent to Kelvingrove Park and is situated near the main campus of the University of Glasgow on Gilmorehill.

The museum houses Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí. DSCN3784

Natural history displays that speak to adults as well as children, are set low to the smaller set’s stature with interactive features and hundreds of amazing paintings make a visit to the museum a must.  Free organ concerts, examples of Macintosh house furnishings and the gorgeous paintings made for an awe-inspiring afternoon.


The sun made an appearance, so high tea in the museum coffee shop topped off the day with delicious sandwiches and treats.

Autumn in Glasgow–a precious month filled with color, new people, places and good friends. What can be said, but….







Posted in Scotland, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Book Contract–Wow! Or not?

Electronic books are growing leaps and bounds in their market share, but under what burden?


When an aspiring author works thousands of hours at polishing her craft, perhaps even receiving positive feedback from friends and family, she is understandably over-the-moon when a legitimate e-publisher offers to represent her work.


A book contract? Wow!


Much more than visions of sugarplums dance through her head. The potential of building legions of loyal readers, her own corner of the market, reward for all the toil and, the best pay, appreciation of her talent are only the beginning of her dream.


In the case of the vast majority, disillusionment is the outcome despite many more thousands of hours spent wooing reviews, social media, writing for blog tours, courting local bookstores and out-of-the-box thinking merchants to allow her to hold book events in store, money and time spent of designing and ordering swag, like bookmarks, postcards, key chains, posters etc, etc, etc….


Is the e-publishing company to blame?   No.


By definition, most new authors, whether e-published, small press published or big New York published will not draw large numbers.


So what’s an e-publisher, who may not have a big ‘star’ author to financially depend on,  to do?


They have already put effort, time and money into editing the newbie’s work, formatting it for upload to numerous sale sites, designed a book cover and added the book to their website. E-publishers have varying degrees of creative ways to get their authors work noticed amongst the thousands of new releases. Reality? The sheer volume of new books makes ‘discovery’ by readers more than an uphill battle.


It makes discoverability something close to a shot in the dark.


What’s an e-publisher to do?


Sell more books.


But how?


Each new author, even if she is lucky enough to have friends, family and colleagues who are willing to buy her book, may only sell a handful of books a month, mostly trickling off to one or two here and there, thereafter.


So…our well-meaning e-publisher, in order to pay her bills, must take on more authors. She must participate in the numbers game. She must sell books to survive. So even if that means individual authors make only enough royalties to buy a bottle of wine to celebrate, the e-publisher must rely on that individual’s couple of dollars a month times many authors.


This reality leaves most, even the best, e-publishers drowning in authors. It defacto limits the e-publishers ability to promote any one author. Not only does that mean it puts the burden of promotion in the author’s hands, it pretty much locks the new author into obscurity, no matter her talent, her passion, her promotion.


But don’t authors say social media wide that they ‘have to write’? They are haunted by the voices of their characters. They love the process. It is therapeutic, cathartic, impossible-to-give-up. Yes, they do say this. It has led to the formation of an entire cottage industry set up to help authors improve their craft, network, promote, learn the industry etc… These authors spend far more money on and in this cottage industry than the vast majority can ever hope to recoup in sales.


And all this is fine if aspiring authors only knew that this is the reality. This is the road ahead.


For the most part, they do not.


That dream of dreams—that readership, those fans whose lives are changed for the good by her words, and yes—the potential of making some money to cover her expenses, or more, are a powerful elixir.


Authors love their craft.


Readers love their books.


Only a miniscule percentage of the two shall meet.


And the e-publisher shall keep afloat by selling a few books a month by the many authors in their ‘stable’ to produce a bottom line on which they can survive.


And new authors shall receive the thrill of being deemed talented enough to take a chance on.


We live in a curious, bittersweet world.




*all images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net




Posted in Author Education, Book Biz, Book Cover Art, Book Event, E-books, Traditional Publishing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Veterans Day and My Father’s Eyes

In the sunset of his years, I remember my father lamenting, “World War II sacrifices are being forgotten.”

Courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

In the overwhelming tidal wave of information in our modern world, it can indeed seem that the fading echoes of history, even ones still within our grasp by way of the handful of living veterans, is in danger of being lost.

Dad became an officer and earned his wings at nineteen. The mantel of adulthood weighted boys like him in a hurry when they found themselves face to face with death and carnage.

courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Dad lost a crewmember in the Pacific theatre of WWII, to a piece of shrapnel that tore through the thin skin of his PB4Y bomber, severing the legs of his crewman. He saw the aftermath of Iwo Jima, dismemberment littering the landscape. His crew photographed from far above, the horror of a flattened, smouldering Hiroshima before even they were informed what had happened. They flew into the eye of a typhoon, something not yet done in those days.

Nothing has changed in present day conflict. Still there are those on the front lines—witness to the costs. No wonder the hollow-eyed gaze of boys turned too-soon to men is still reflected in the modern eyes of war.

courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

The rights so dearly won may at first seem ephemeral, but the absence of them unimaginable to a nation formed on the bedrock of freedom. These very concepts of human rights, dignity, liberty, fill the hearts of every American who has tasted the fruits of their sacrifice. It is on the backs of those valiant men and women dad thought forgotten, that we rest. Home in the bosom of free speech, justice handed down by peers, protection from the storms of any other’s religions or ideals, lest it impinge upon our own.

What would the world look like now had Nazi Germany and the tyranny of 1940 Japan run rough shod over not only our shores, but the world? Cold frissons of dreadful imaginings creep up the spine at the thought.

My grandfather was a doughboy, marching European soil in the “Great War” having left his wife of just days behind. It was four long years before his return to American soil, no doubt having witnessed the unimaginable. Could he have ever dreamed that the ‘war to end all wars’ would too soon lead to yet another, diverting the life path of his son from four years of university into the hell that is war? I can only guess at their anguish as they sent him off.

Those are the sacrifices of people who know the meaning and worth of self- determination and human dignity. Loss of the beloved youth of a nation is deemed not too great a price to insure the future remain intact for freedom loving men and women everywhere.

courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Today my daughter works a continent away from her roots and home in California in support of these same values. As a U.S. Marine officer she stands shoulder to shoulder with the best young men and women our country has to offer. Her father served in the United States Coast Guard in protection of home shores. They too were and are ready at a moments notice, to defend the constitution of the United States and listen to those echoes of the past when their father, grandfather, great grandfathers put everything on the line.

This Veterans Day if you see a service man or woman, remember to thank them for the days, weeks, months they spend away from the love and support of their friends and family in service to the larger family of their country. Thank too their wives, husbands, daughter, sons, parents who give up the presence and support of their sons, daughters, fathers and mothers to keep home and family running smoothly in their serviceman or woman’s absence. It is a lonely, often thankless sacrifice.

Most of all— never forget.

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Scot Toast Ta Ye

May the best you’ve ever seen
be the worst you ever see
May a moose ne’er leave yer girnal                         

Courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

Wi’ a teardrop in his e’e.
May ye aye keep hale an hearty
Till ye’er auld enough tae dee
May ye aye be just as happy
As I wish ye aye tae be.

-Scottish toast

from Allan Ramsey the Isle of Ayr



*moose = ‘mouse’
*girnal = meal chest

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