WOW Blog Book Tour for Rina Z. Neiman’s “Born Under Fire”

Hello Bookworms;

Who is this strange lady in the video below? Click on it and find out….

Now that we’ve answered that question, here’s a link to the promotional video for the book.

And here’s the media press kit information for the tour. I look forward to seeing y’all. Hopefully, I didn’t scare you with the above video. 😂😂😂

Rina Z. Neiman’s


Born Under Fire

Tour Begins May 20th

Book Summary

Born Under Fire is a historical novel that tells the story of a girl coming of age and her drive to excel despite the devastating effects of long-term war. Born in Jerusalem under British rule in 1928, Shula grows up in a world in turmoil as Hitler rises to power and nations enter into war. Amid a landscape of ancient stone ruins next to modern Bauhaus architecture, and desert scrub ending at newly verdant farmlands, Shula grows into her independence as the State of Israel is born. Based on historical documents and events, Born Under Fire is also about the context surrounding the founding of the State of Israel, as well as the horrors and dangers of growing up in a conflict zone. Shula battles grief and depression due to the shattering events affecting her, her family, and the entire world. Despite this struggle, her resilient spirit enables her to reach great heights as a concert pianist..


Print Length: 258 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN-13: 978-1986349147

ISBN-10: 1986349144


Born Under Fire is now available to purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Thrift Books.


Praise for Born Under Fire


“I went to high school in Israel in the late 50’s and heard many personal stories about the early years and the struggle for independence. Your book makes these years really come alive. Also, most of my relatives’ tales were set in Kibbutzim and rural Palestine. Your book describes life in Tel Aviv as just as heroic. Lastly, I share your mother’s love for Yemenite embroidery and am happy that your book calls attention to this beautiful art form.”


Vita Hollander


“This lovely coming of age story provides a view into the challenges, conflicts and dilemmas facing the European Jews fleeing Hitler’s reach and trying to make Palestine their home. It pulls no punches and honestly acknowledges the dilemmas posed by the creation of this new country, but as it tells the story from the eyes of a young girl, we see those intricacies as she would have seen them, allowing the reader an understanding not only of historical events that readers may not be aware of (the proposed partition, the ethical dilemma posed by Jewish terrorist groups, etc.) but also of the emotional journey of these refugees and their children. This story is an important reminder of the effects of war and provides a critical piece of history necessary for understanding the world today.”


Nima M. Vincent via, 5 out of 5 star review


“This story drew me in from the very first page. The vivid descriptions of smell, sights and taste, longing, disappointment and joy, evoked real emotion and made me wish I were sitting at the kitchen table with Shula and her aunts. I appreciated the many history lessons tucked into the adventures, and was relieved to discover details about this time period without being burdened by the author’s politics.”


Lisa Fliegel via, 5 out of 5 star review


About the Author, Rina Z. Neiman


Rina Z. Neiman is a writer, event producer and public relations professional. Born Under Fire is based on the true story of her mother, Shulamit Dubno Neiman, a Sabra, a musician and one of the first generation of modern-day Israelis. Rina lives in Marin County, California with her husband and son. This is her first novel.


You may find out more about the author and her book by visiting the website Also, you may find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


— Blog Tour Dates


May 20th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin! So, grab your coffee and join us today as we celebrate the launch of Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.


May 21st @ Karen Brown Tyson Blog

Make sure you stop by Karen’s blog today where you can read Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about how to manage time and distractions during the book writing process. If you are writing a book – or thinking about writing one – this one is a post you don’t want to miss!


May 22nd @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and visit Lacey’s blog today where you can read her review about Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire.


May 23rd @ Coffee with Lacey

Stop by Lacey’s blog again where you can read the author Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about why researching primary sources is so effective.


May 23rd @ Bri’s Book Nook

Looking for a new book? Make sure to stop by Bri’s Book Nook and find out why you need to add Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire to your reading list.


May 24th @ One Sister’s Journey

Today is a can’t miss review by Lisa over at One Sister’s Journey blog. She’s sharing her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman’s historical fiction book Born Under Fire.


May 26th @ Reading Whale

You won’t want to miss today’s stop at the blog Reading Whale where you can read this Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about when you can finally start writing your book after all that research.


May 27th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf

Fill your bookshelf with good books! Stop by Veronica’s blog and read author Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about writing biographical fiction and when to dramatize real events.


May 28th @ Helen Hollick’s World of Books

Join Helen Hollick’s Tuesday Talk over at her blog and read Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about how videos can reinforce your historical novel.


May 28th @ Book Collab Blog

Make sure you stop by Morgan’s blog Book Collab where you can find out what she has to say about Rina Z. Neiman’s historical fiction book Born Under Fire.


May 29th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

If you love historical fiction, make sure you visit Anthony Avina’s blog today where he features author Rina Z. Neiman’s blog post about how she researched her historical fiction novel Born Under Fire. You won’t want to miss this!


May 31st @ Jess Reading Blog

Are you interested in writing history for young adults? If you are, you will absolutely want to visit Jess’ blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman talks about writing history for young adults and what grabs them and what loses them.


June 1st @ The World of My Imagination

Come by Nicole’s blog today where you can read her review of Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire and enter to win a copy of the book.


June 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Can’t resist a good book? Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog today when he reviews Rina Z. Neiman’s incredible historical fiction book Born Under Fire.


June 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Looking for your next great read? Make sure you stop by Bev’s blog today and catch her opinion on this fascinating historical fiction novel Born Under Fire.


June 4th @ Amanda Diaries

Today’s stop is at Amanda’s blog where you can read what she thinks about Rina Z. Neiman’s historical fiction book Born Under Fire.


June 5th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today where you can not only read her review of Born Under Fire but also enter to win a copy of the book!


June 7th @ Bookworm Blog

Feeling bookish today? Make sure you stop by Anjanette’s Bookworm blog where you can read her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman’s powerful historical fiction book Born Under Fire plus read an interview with the author.


June 8th @ Jessica’s Reading Room

Today’s tour stop is a fantastic guest post written by author Rina Z. Neiman about how to make stories interactive. A must-read for all the writers out there!


June 9th @ Jess Bookish Life

Need a new book in your life? Stop by Jess’ blog today where she shares her opinion about the historical fiction book Born Under Fire.


June 10th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Are you doing research for your novel? Make sure you visit Bev’s blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman is talking about top 5 ways to research secondary sources.


June 12th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Get to know author Rina Z. Neiman at today’s stop over at author Anthony Avina’s blog where he interviews the author.


June 14th @ Bookworm Blog

Visit Anjanette’s blog today and read a guest post by the author who talks about making your story interactive and why adding music is so effective.


June 15th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Visit Wendi’s blog at Strength 4 Spouses where you can read Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about the importance of writing during deployment.


June 17th @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog over at 12 Books and find out her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire.

June 19th @ Inquiry and Beyond

Join Kathy on Instagram and on her blog PYP in Paradise as she reviews and features Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire.


June 21st @ Choices Blog

Interviewing someone for your book? Make sure you visit Madeline Sharples’ blog today where Rina Z. Neiman talks about how to conduct interviews with people who are (and who are not) willing to talk with you.


June 23rd @ Strength 4 Spouses Blog

Need a new book? Make sure you stop by Wendi’s blog where she reviews Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman.


WOW (Women on Writing) Blog Book Tour: Black Madonna: The Pope’s Deadly Obsession by Linda Lee Kane’s

Hello Bookworms:

It’s time for another blog book tour, courtesy of our friends at WOW (Women on Writing). This tour is going to be a two parter. Today’ I’ll be posting a guest post by Ms. Kane called “Heroes and Villains”, where she discusses how grey areas, inner moral conflict, and villains help with the character development of heroes.

I’m also posting a brief interview with Ms. Kane where we discuss how she decided to focus on this topic for her current work and how she became an author.

Next week I’ll post a review on “Black Madonna”. As always, make Ms. Kane feel welcome, ask her all the questions you want, and comment as much as you like.

Heroes and Villains:

Most thrillers tell the story of a hero who leaves the comfortable, know world and ventures into the dangerous unknown, often at risk to his/her life, to bring benefit to humanity. As such, thrillers hearken back to myth is that span all cultures and epochs. Look at Wikipedia’s list of Heroes and World Cultures and Heroines in Folklore and mark those that appeal to you the most. Keep a list of ideas, and heroes in a notebook to refer to later.

When creating motivations for heroes and villains, a fundamental principle to remember is that making a decision between good and evil is never really a choice. All humans will choose well as they see it. You must tell why your villain is picking his own right (which your reader will perceive as evil). This is where your moral gray area becomes essential.

In the Black Madonna, A Popes Deadly Obsession the moral gray area is whether or not to bring the last written words by Jesus to light. An offshoot of the Catholic Church doesn’t want it to come to light, but Luci in her naivety believes that by doing so it will bring truth to the bible and in doing so bring light to all mankind.

All stakes, no matter what kind of novel you’re writing, should involve death. This can happen physically (the hero’s life is in danger), psychologically )the hero stands to lose his identity or a vital aspect of his soul) or circumstantially (or at some point of the hero’s life will be lost forever-a career, a marriage, his family, etc.). When you’re designing your hero’s central conflict, ask yourself which kind of death your hero is going to confront.

Sometimes a moral gray area turns a hero into a villain. In fiction, this is known as an anti-hero. Check out these television shows as an example:

Tony Soprano of The Sopranos

Walter White of Breaking Bad

Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo

Watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and observe how the character of Indian Jones is revealed. Which character traits are shown first? Which ones come later? What motivates Jones in his quest?

What aspects of your hero can be reflected through your villain?

What aspects of your villain’s personality and life could create relatable motivations for what they do in your novel?

The Interview:

Q: What made you choose this subject matter?

 Thank you, I don’t think I’ve ever been asked this question. I picked the topic because I read an article on the BBC about the Cathars. I had never heard of this religious group before. While researching, I found information linking the Tarot cards with the Cathars. After that, I just had to keep digging, it was far too compelling.

 Q: What made you choose writing as a profession?

 If you look at my website, I’ve had several professions. When I became a professor, I ended up writing grants, this leads me to the history of the institution I was writing the grant fo, so the next progression was to retire and write full time. 


Q: Do you have any advice for future writers? Especially women?

If you decide to become an author, learn your craft. Take classes, and never give up on this dream. You may never make very much money…the average author earns about $10,000 a year. So if you’re doing it for the money or the fame, forget it. Do it because you love to impart stories to others, you love the creative process. Do it because you can’t think of anything that you would rather be doing.

 Q: Use this space to give yourself a shameless plug about this work/any other works/your website(blog)?

My website is

I’ve written several books… Death on the Vine, Chilled to the Bones, Death Among Us: An Anthology of Murder Mystery Short Stories (this will be coming out in October 2019), and several Children’s books that I’m quite proud. I am finishing up the edits on the sequel to Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession. 

I do have a blog, it’s on WordPress…Herstory: Because of them…we can! It’s about historical women who have made an impact that many have never heard about. My favorite is Sybil Ludington, a young woman of 16 who rode further, faster and warned more people that the British were coming than Paul Revere. Now wouldn’t that make a great children’s book!

Black Madonna is now available to purchase on AmazoniTunesKOBO, and Barnes and Noble.

You can find Linda at her website:

 You may also follow her on Twitter at @llkane2152.

 You may also follow her on Amazon and GoodReads.

Follow the remainder of the Tour at these blogs, then join me back here next week for my review of Black Madonna: The Pope’s Obsession.

April 13th @ Chapters Through Life

Visit Danielle’s blog where you can read her interview with author Linda Lee Kane and hear more about this interesting writer!

 April 15th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post about finding the idea

 April 16th @ Amanda Diaries

Visit Amanda’s blog where she reviews the exciting historical fiction book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession by Linda Lee Kane.

 April 19th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s bookworm blog where you can read her thoughts about Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

 April 19th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Make sure you stop by Jill’s blog today where author Linda Lee Kane talks about finding the idea.

 April 20th @ Madeline Sharples’ Blog

Stop by Madeline’s blog where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s blog post about life as a writer.

 April 22nd @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post on research.

 April 23rd @ Joyful Antidotes

Come by Joy’s blog today and find out her thoughts on Linda Lee Kane’s exciting book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

 April 25th @ To Write or Not to Write

Visit Sreevarsha’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting thriller Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

 April 26th @ To Write or Not to Write

Make sure you stop by Sreevarsha’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s fascinating blog post about the anatomy of a thriller.

 April 27th @ A Day in the Life of Mom

Visit Ashley’s blog and check out what she has to say about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting historical mystery Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

 May 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Be sure to stop by Anthony’s blog today where you can read his opinion about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting historical mystery Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

 May 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

May the 4th be with you on this day! Be sure to visit Anthony’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post on the anatomy of a thriller as well as an interview with this incredible author.


May 6th @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog again where you can read her review of Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession. Plus you can also enter to win a copy of the book!


WOW (Women on Writing)Blog Book Tour for B. Lynn Goodwin’s “Never too Late”Pt.2

Hello Bookworms;

   Here’s post 2 of my participation in WOW’s blog book tour for B. Lynn Goodwin’s Never too Late: from Wannabe to Wife at 62. In this post I’ll be reviewing Mrs; Goodwin’s work and posting the remainder of the tour dates so you can show our guest author some love.

The Review:

As I read Ms. Goodwin’s book, I was impressed with her willingness to be transparent about her romantic history (especially about her ability to poke fun at following advice from women’s magazines and feminist blogs/Facebook pages). I was also impressed at Richard being a pastor and her being a virgin. Virgins at an advanced age are more common than people think and feeling that one has to hide it lest someone “prude shames” you,  is horrible. Also, no one talks very much about the dating lives of the clergy.  Richard’s Craigslist post was heartwarming as well as very humorous. It shows his ability to be personable and likeable. And their rapport as they began to email one another more and. more was touching 

Some questions that I asked myself as I continued to read were “why does she seem to be ‘coming out of her pocket’ so much?”” Is he telling the truth about his future inheritance or dangling it as a carrot?” “Are her comments about being a “nice girl” who never pierced her ears and about the “loose woman” who “puts herself out there” a form of shade? Or are they a reflection of the insecurity that gets played out after the anxiety about ‘finally being chosen’ starts to fade” 

As I continued to read though, I start to notice the emotional transformation that starts to take place as the reality of being in a committed relationship with Richard becomes a reality to her.  Especially, when she begins to elaborate on how even though she’s always been fiercely independent, she feels “softer” as she spends more time in Richard’s company. There’s also a transformative moment when she thinks she lost the engagement ring and accidentally calls it “her ring”, indicating a realization that makes the ring hers is that it is a gift to her from her intended that’s meant to symbolize his love and commitment.  

I won’t spoil the ending (like many reviewers do) by giving away the ending. I’ll just say despite some of the “red flags” that show up, Richard turns out be a pleasant surprise. A man of his word, in all actuality. Never is a really encouraging read that reminds us to pay attention to “red flags”, to also watch and pray. Everything may not be what it seems.


About B. Lynn Goodwin


B. Lynn Goodwin

B. Lynn Goodwin is the owner of Writer Advice. She’s written You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers (Tate Publishing) and Talent (Eternal Press). Talent was short-listed for a Literary Lightbox Award and won a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and was a finalist for a Sarton Women’s Book Award.


Her manuscript, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 was published by Koehler Press on December 20, 2017. Goodwin’s work has appeared in Voices of Caregivers, Hip Mama, Dramatics Magazine, Inspire Me Today, The Sun,, and elsewhere. She is a reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network, and she is a manuscript coach at Writer Advice. She always has time to write guest blog posts and answer questions. She loves working one on one, trouble-shooting, and helping writers find what works.
She can be found online at:







Here are the remainding tour dates:

February 12th @ Madeline Sharples Blog
B. Lynn Goodwin will be visiting Madeline Sharples blog and discussing one of my favorite activities in her post, “Need a Venting Partner? Try a Journal.”
February 14th @ Beverly A. Baird’s Blog
Blogger Beverly A. Baird will be reading and reviewing B. Lynn Goodwin’s book Never Too Late and sharing her thoughts with us.
February 14th @ Bookends Review
Come by and check out the review of Never Too Late at Bookends Review.
February 15th @ Mommy Daze: Say What???
Ashley Bass over at Mommy Daze: Say What??? will be sharing her thoughts about Never Too Late. 

February 16th @ Words From the Heart
Rev. Linda Neas will be reading and reviewing Never Too Late and be sure to check out her insights on this amazing book.
February 17th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Make sure to come by the blog Memoir Writer’s Journey and read about Lynn’s insight in her post, “The Authentic Writer.” Also, blogger Kathleen Pooler will be reviewing Never Too Late as well.
February 19th @ Strength4Spouses
Visit the blog Strength4Spouses to catch Lynn’s post called, “Craigslist Dating.”
February 20th @ Bring on Lemons

Nancy Cramer, yoga lover and retired schoolteacher, will be sharing her thoughts about Never Too Late on the blog, Bring on Lemons.
February 22nd @ Food Diary of a City Girl
Make sure to catch Cecilia over at Food Diary of a City Girl and her thoughts about the book Never Too Late.
February 23rd @ Strength4Spouses
Make sure you come by the Strength4Spouses blog to catch their insights into Lynn’s book Never Too Late. 
February 24th @ Becoming Zen Again
Shell LeBlanc will be telling us about what she thought about the book Never Too Late.
Keep up with the latest stops by following WOW! Blog Tour on Twitter: @WOWBlogTour

WOW (Women on Writing) Blog Book Tour for B. Lynn Goodwin

Hello Bookworms,

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. I have a few live events/concert reviews coming up in March and a few book/music/art events, as well as more blog book tours like today’s.

That being said, today’s guest author is B. Lynn Goodwin, the author of Never too Late: from Wannabe to Wife at 62. book is the story of Mrs. Goodwin’s own personal of finding love and marrying after 62 years of singleness. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. In today’s post, Mrs. Goodwin discusses how important it is to tell your own story and how to develop the discipline to write about it everyday.

Enjoy 😉

Guest Post

B. Lynn Goodwin

525-word blog – 100-word bio

“If you do not record your own story, your tiny bit of the history of the human race is lost. Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s vision. Dickinson wrote Dickinson’s. Who will tell your story if you do not?” –Pat Schneider, Author of (check YWMTDW?)

The Importance of Telling Your Story

Everyone has stories to tell. Sometimes people just don’t realize it. I once had a woman ask me, “Who would be interested in a Texas girl’s farm life?”

“Those who have not lived it,” I told her. “People in cities and suburbs. People who’ve spent their lives in schools and offices.”

Her eyes lit up as she began seeing her story in a new way.

No one can tell your story but you. Perhaps you’ve already told it out loud. Maybe you’ve shared it with family and friends. So why write it down?

There’s something about putting words on paper or a computer screen that creates a commitment to an idea. Got the words wrong? Use the delete key. Say what you really meant to say. The first draft usually involves spilling your story. Think of it as generating the clay you will mold. Each successive draft will make your writing more nuanced and you will get closer and closer to the truth.

And what will the truth do? Set you free from obsession over things you cannot control. Clear your head and your conscience. Give you insight. Broaden your perspective. Move you forward and maybe transform you.

Depending on how you tell your story and how objective and three-dimensional it is, you may help others to heal or embrace new ideas. Your story might inspire them to tell their own.

You might also help yourself to heal from whatever wounds are holding you back. It will allow you to move forward in your life. By telling your story you may begin to see your life as a journey. Our stories help us define who we are, the changes we’d like to make, and build our confidence.

If you share your story in any kind of group—therapy group, church group, or writing group to name three—it should help you connect with others. It will also help you connect with yourself on a deeper level. You’ll go from the whats—the events to the whys—the reasons behind them. Writing enables you to see your life in new ways. Writing your story can help you fix or accept the past and sometimes it helps you plan a more productive future.

Ready to start? Here are the first steps.

Write for 15 minutes a day for the next five days.

Each day after you finish, look for favorite lines. Those are places to explore further. Post the results here or on your blog or share with a group if you’d like to.

You might be surprised by how many people will identify with your story. Their encouragement will keep you moving forward until you have a rough draft.

I told my story in Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62. Can a 62-year-old who’s never been married find happiness with a two-time widower seeking his third wife on . . . Craigslist? You’ll find out how by reading the book.


B. Lynn Goodwin  B. Lynn Goodwin owns Writer Advice, Her memoir, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 was just released by Koehler Press.

She’s written You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers and Talent, which was short-listed for a Literary Lightbox Award, won a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and was a finalist for a Sarton Women’s Book Award.

Goodwin’s work has appeared in Voices of Caregivers, Hip Mama, Dramatics Magazine, Inspire Me Today, The Sun, Good, Purple and many other places. She is a reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network, and she is an editor, writer and manuscript coach at Writer Advice.

WOW(Women on Writing) Blog Book Tour for Jennifer A. Payne’s EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: What We Leave Behind

Hello Bookworms;

As you can see, BOOKWORM is participating in another blog book tour courtesy of WOW (Women on Writing). Today’s guest is Jennifer A. Payne, author of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind. Today I’m posting an interview, Q and A style, that I conducted with Ms. Payne so that you can read  her thoughts about her calling, her choice of direction for her writing, and her thoughts about mindfulness. I’m also posting a review of her most recent work “Evidence”.  Enjoy.

Hi Anjanette.

Thank you for this opportunity to talk about my books with you and your readers!

  1. How long have you been writing/ what made you decide to write?

I don’t know if I had a choice, really. Writing is how I’ve always communicated with the world. My earliest memory is writing letters to my Dad when he was away on business trips when I was young.In grade school, I used to write short stories, but I also had a dozen pen pals I kept in touch with regularly. I wrote for my high school newspaper, and studied journalism at UMass. My first job was writing press releases and advertising copy, before I started my own business doing the same. I published a zine in the early 90s, and graduated to blog writing about 10 years ago.

I’ve been writing all my life!

2. What made you take this direction for your writing/this work?

I think those early days of communicating real-life stories and experiences to my Dad and pen pals have kept me pretty firmly rooted in non-fiction writing. You can see that on my blog Random Acts of Writing ( Over the years, it has hosted everything from my food writing, travel journals and book reviews, to photo essays, social commentary and poetry.In the past couple of years, I’ve been writing more poetry, mainly because that is how my muse has been talking to me. But also, I was invited to join a local poetry group, the Guilford Poets Guild, and they have inspired and encouraged me a lot!

Both of my books, LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness (2014) and the new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind are direct results of my work on the blog. LOOK UP! includes essays, poetry, a collection of quotations by philosophers, naturalists, and famous writers, plus 100 of my original color photos. It’s a journal, really, that narrates my own journey from working 24/7 to reconnecting with our natural world, finding balance and mindfulness in the simple act of going outside. Evidence of Flossing is a follow-up to that concept. It features 73 of my poems and 80 original and vintage photos that continue a conversation about our divine connection to nature, and how important it is to find our way back to that.

3. What is it about mindfulness that interests/fascinates you?

By day, I run my own graphic design and marketing business. By night (really in the pre-dawn hours of the day), I do my creative work. My brain and I work at a very frenetic pace – as you can imagine – but somewhere in all of that, there has to be some downtime. Some quiet. Some peace.

I tried traditional methods of meditation – sitting on pillows, candles, oms, guided groups, recorded sessions. But nothing really “stuck.” I remember one group meditation…there were 10 of us in a small, candlelit room. We did some breathing exercises, and then the facilitator guided us on a meditation…down a path, into the treetops, up into the sky. I spent the whole meditation frantically running to catch up, because I couldn’t breathe right, couldn’t visualize right…couldn’t get out of my own way!

About that same time, I had started taking regular walks in the woods. There is a nature preserve near my house, and I can do a nice, easy 2-mile walk in a space that feels very far away from everything. I remember this one day very clearly. I’d been walking for about 20 minutes with lots of busy thoughts in my head. But then it was suddenly quiet. All I heard were my footsteps on the pine needle path. I wasn’t aware of my thoughts or my body, just the sound of footsteps, like a heartbeat, and breathing.

It was brief and wonderful.

I think of it now as my “ah-ha, so this is meditation” moment.problems, inspirations for my writing, connections to some mystery I wouldn’t have had time for if I wasn’t allowing myself to disconnect from busy and reconnect with nature. It’s that simple…and that complicated, I suppose. Perhaps that’s what so fascinating about it, and why I write about it. The difficult part of mindfulness is getting there—stepping away from our busy-ness, allowing ourselves that time to reconnect. But once we do, it’s really quite simple. It’s really quite amazing.
4. Use this space to give yourself a shameless plug?

I was at a workshop last week, and the hostess came over to me and pointed to a copy of my book on her coffee table. “I keep your book here,” she said. “In a place of honor. That way I can pick it up and read something from it whenever I want. Which is often. I just love it.”

She’s not alone. People seem to really connect with these books, with the writing and the photos. I think it’s because they talk about our collective concerns about our society in a way that is heartfelt and thoughtful. They’re smart books that you can skim for meaning, or dive into for a deeper understanding as they apply to your own philosophy and spirituality, your own experience. But they are both easy reads – you can read an essay, read one poem, open to a page and meditate on a photo or quote. They allow the reader to take that moment of mindfulness, to stop and consider…maybe…a better way to move about in this world? I hope.


Evidence is a combination of street photography and poetry. It’s actually a followup to a prior work of Ms. Payne’s called LOOKUP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness. Most psychology majors probably remember mindfulness as a Buddhist concept that is used in clinical psychology to help alleviate depressive symptoms. It involves bringing one’s attention to experiences that are occurring  in the present moment through meditation or other disciplines (like writing). Discarded dental flossers are featured in most of  Evidence’s street photography. To me they seemed to point to the commonalities of mankind. Even though there are differences between our global cultures, it is our humanity that gives us common ground. What’s is more of a sign on humanity that flossing? For the author they also ask the question “What is our legacy?” “What will we leave behind?”.  I like the way her poems are formatted because there’s no formal visual presentation (prose, haikus). So they force whoever’s reading them to ponder and meditate on their meaning. Her writing is definitely in keeping with the mindfulness concept. I look forward to reviewing even more of Ms. Payne’s work.

Evidence of Flossing  and LOOKUP! (as well as Jennifer Payne herself)can be found online at:





WOW (Women on Writing) Blog Book Tour for Author Leona Stucky’s “THE FOG OF FAITH:MY IMPOTENT GOD

Hello Bookworms;

Welcome to another blog book tour with our friends from WOW  (Women on Writing). Today’s guest author is Leona Stucky. The work we are posting about today is her memoir,  The Fog of Faith: Surviving My Impotent God.  The subject for today’s post “Recognizing Evil-An Underbelly Job”. Ms. Stucky will be stopping through. Feel free to talk with her and make her feel welcome. Enjoy…

Leona Stuckey Blog Tour pice

Recognizing Evil – An Underbelly Job

Blog by Dr. Leona Stucky,

Seldom can human evil be fully known before it slashes its wrath across the soft underbelly of human constancy. Evil causes immense suffering and yet it confuses us.

Evil is “gift” that keeps on giving. One patient told me that since terror struck her she thinks double and contradictory thoughts simultaneously. They circumscribe her mental and emotional movements. If danger persists, so does the anguish that surrounds it. The soft underbelly thickens. Evil has to be considered. We guess and re-guess. We are not free to set aside the slashes and live as if they had not happened and will not strike again. We are not free to banish troubling thoughts. They come unbidden. We think and fear them before we can consciously understand or attempt diversions.

Evil eviscerates the safe-harbors of our well-being and leaves scars that won’t allow our soft underbellies to stay placid and playful. We lose our innocence, trauma unfolds, and memory membranes, scattered asunder, must be recollected as if sense can be recreated.

Evil and Good Together?

Evil, it turns out, is ubiquitous, as is good. And it would be a mistake to fully separate those two characteristics. Usually human intentions are mixed, and the results of those intentions are also mixed, but when evil is imposed, suffering is the predominant result.

To find evil, we must listen deeply to any clarion cry for help, look intensely into suffering, and be wary of jumping on the bandwagon of public blaming – for many people will point the finger at other’s evil while practicing their own. Here, careful discernment is required.

  • Are the people pointing the finger the people who are suffering the most?
  • Where does our empathy find an authentic landing place?
  • In which position would we need to stand to feel the evil slashes across the soft underbelly of our constancy?

The first place to explore evil is within ourselves. If we can understand our own evil intentions and actions, often enacted against ourselves, we will know the fundamental essence of being human and will be able to grasp the magnitude of the problem of evil in our lives.

How We Deceive Ourselves

Ron, in my memoir, The Fog of Faith: Surviving My Impotent God, thought his needs and his divine right to subject me to his desires were justification enough. He was an ordinary guy, in his assessment, not an evil one. He felt entitled to his minimal pleasures and survival necessities, no matter what suffering his requisitions caused for another person —quite similar to first world inhabitants feeling entitled to the resources and means of production that leave a muted holocaust for millions of others working long hours without enough to sustain their families.

We can and should be enraged at the evil of many Nazis, who blindly did what they thought was right—followed orders without thinking for themselves about the consequences of their death-to-millions actions. Sometimes we might also wonder about our propensity to silently brush by the causes and effects of global warming or deadly militaristic answers, as if blindly following the dictates of capitalism is the only choice we can make. Many people have no trouble denying culpability. Some don’t empathize with those who suffer and seem oblivious to the anguish their beliefs and actions cause.        Our human minds quickly and naturally collude with others’ pre-rationalized dictums to avoid culpability. Compromised by political, cultural, religious or psychological diminutions of our responsibility for the sometimes devastating effects of our actions, we seldom recognize our own evil. In the instances when it ricochets and devastates our own lives, blaming others is a likely response. I know of no country or human who surpasses these tendencies, including myself.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps claiming full responsibility for who we are and how we act is a faculty we humans have not yet mastered, especially when the harmful effects of our actions are not directly experienced or observed by ourselves. Evolutionary biologists tell us that we have not evolved to care about distant others as much as we care about our own family or tribe. This is not offered as an excuse for people, but an awareness of how powerful a foe, cold and unthinking evolutionary forces, we must engage to learn how to operate differently than the format evolution has prescribed.

I guess we will live in an entirely different way, in an entirely different world, when and if humans learn the lessons of recognizing evil and imposing it on no one, including ourselves. I, for one, hope we don’t destroy ourselves before we learn those lessons!

Ms Stucky has a Facebook page, is on LinkdIn, and her book can be found on



Gospel Performing Arts Expo 2017: Second Night

Hello Bookworms;

Here’s the footage I promised you from night two of this past weekend’s expo.

Here’s some footage of a Gospel group called Identity .

I discovered a new feature on Facebook that will allow me save my live footage to my phone which will allow me to post it to my blog. Neat right?? Here’s my summary of night two’s events.

Anyhoo, have a blessed holiday weekend eat LOTS of turkey and don’t forget to hit the gym. Love you guys.