Laura's Book Blog
Beauty and Wisdom by Robbie Kaye
December 2, 2013
I am so proud to be a contributor in the form of a short story to the new release Beauty and Wisdom by Robbie Kaye. Kaye, a brilliant photographer, is committed to the important mission of encouraging women to value themselves and their unique qualities. It is important that we encourage women to value themselves. To purchase.
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage
by Anne Patchett
November 4, 2013
After reading This Is a Story of a Happy Marriage, it is clear that author Ann Patchett not only talks the talk but walks the walk of a successful writer. This book is a series of nonfiction essays that allow the reader to enter Ms. Patchett’s inner world and eavesdrop on her thoughts and emotions as she adeptly paints a portrait of her personal journey and views on creativity that many readers might identify with—particularly artists and writers.
As part of the wisdom she imparts to writers Ms. Patchett states, “We all have ideas, sometimes good ones, not to mention the gift of emotional turmoil that every childhood provides. In short, the story is in us and all we have to do is sit there and write it down.”
Ms. Patchett shares with the reader an in-depth exploration of the craft of writing and is not shy about expressing her opinions on how to achieve mastery of the written word. For example, she clearly states, “If you want to write, practice writing. Practice it for hours a day, not to come up with a story you can publish, but because you long to learn how to write well, because there is something that you alone can say.” Read full review.
Adé: A Love Story by Rebecca Walker
October 25, 2013
“This novel may be short in length . . . but it is definitely not short on style.”
“Do you remember those days at the end of the world? The way you peeled me open each night, unwrapping my sarongs, my brightly covered scarves one at a time before sleeping, as the flames of the white candle we kept by the bed flickered hungrily.”
The above quote from page one of Adé: A Love Story is but a small portion of the not so faded memory that was forged from the bonds of a powerful love affair. It was the kind of love that transcended the cultures and norms of several continents.
The story of two lovers Farida (an American romantic) and Ade (a Swahili Muslim) encompasses a journey around the globe that ignites both a physical and emotional transformation for both of them. Within their private world, love and intimacy grows stronger day by day. Read full review.
A New Release About Forbidden Sexuality
Dark, Secret Love: A Story of Submission
By Alison Tyler
August 14, 2013
“This sometimes unfathomable realm takes place in darkened bedrooms and dimly lit clubs throughout the world.”
“Like magic, he suddenly had some thin little switch in his hand, and before I could breathe, before I could beg, he was using it on me, on the underside of my ass, the tops of my thighs. The pain cut me, cut through me. He worked with finesse, slicing that mean implement to the right or the left before landing a perfect blow that made me cry out.”
At first blush, the above quote from Dark, Secret Love might appear to be a paragraph out of a grisly story about torture and mayhem; however, the reader quickly realizes he/she is being introduced to a world that may be unfamiliar but is practiced by a growing number of people. Read full review.
Writer's etc. Group for Writers/Authors
June 16, 2013
If you are a writer/author please join us in the group Writer’s etc. It is a group comprised of writers, publishers and people in the film industry. The group was started for writers, a few years ago, to have a place to share their struggles and successes in a non-judgmental environment. It is a closed group that can be found by typing in the name on Facebook. We currently have over 900 members and counting.
If you are suitable for the group, your request to join will be approved. However, we do not self-promote our books, so that is highly discouraged. So if you’d like to share with other writers, come join us.
A Mixed Review for the New Release, The Innocence Game By Michael Harvey
May 7. 2013
What does the discovery of a mysterious envelope, a bloody piece of material, and a murder conviction in a decades old case, have in common? If someone could assemble the proper components of this Rubik’s Cube, they would solve the mystery that is The Innocence Game.
The secrets of The Innocence Game begin to unravel within a classroom inside the prestigious Medhill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago. Three particularly bright students are invited to participate in an unusual graduate seminar that reopens and investigates cold cases where there exists the potential of a wrongful conviction.
Ian, Jake, and Sarah are the chosen student triad serving as the truth seekers in these mysterious cases. Their illustrious professor Judy Zombrowski is a Pulitzer Prize winner who prefers to be referred to simply as “Z.”
The success of the project is evident in myriad overturned wrongful convictions for inmates on death row. The three idealistic student participants are committed to righting potential wrongs within the Chicago justice system, one with a history of corruption. Read full review.
New Book Review
Nine Lives: A Chef's Journey from Chaos to Control
By Brandon Baltzley
May 3, 2013
“. . . a memoir both touching and mortifying.”
When it comes to addiction, people often ask, “How could someone use a substance to the point of destroying everything and everyone around them?” The misconception still exists that addiction is somehow a moral weakness, but the evidence proves otherwise.
Even the American Medical Association has recognized for years that addiction is a disease. The insidious nature of this illness causes irreparable harm to those who are afflicted with it, but for many that first drink or drug is the beginning of a slow descent into hell.
If a reader of Nine Lives can comprehend this concept one would surely understand the life and death struggle depicted by author Brandon Baltzley. This powerfully gripping memoir gently convinces the reader that no one would consciously choose this struggle for all the riches in the world. Though the battle is his alone, there are millions who are fighting this battle while horrified loved ones witness firsthand the insatiable desire of the one afflicted. Read Full Review.
Book Review: Resolve by J. J. Hensley
March 15, 2013
“. . . the uneven execution of the plot prevents Resolve from achieving its full potential.”
Author J. J. Hensley’s expertise in law enforcement combined with his avid passion for long distance running lends gravitas to more than one element in the whodunit Resolve. Author Hensley is both accurate and insightful about the details involved in committing a crime and its aftermath, including the thought processes of both prosecutors and detectives.
Mr. Hensley’s secrets to success in running a marathon are apparent as he takes the reader on a journey through each mile of the Pittsburgh marathon including the mindset of the runner and the physical ramifications on the body during those challenging 26 miles. In fact, all of the chapters introduce each subsequent mile in the title with the concomitant progressive numbers as the heading.
The plot of Resolve is centered in academia at Three Rivers University in Pittsburgh. Amid the hallowed halls of this intellectual and cozy little university, there lurks many a secret. While the reader gathers more interest in these secrets, more is revealed bit by bit. Read full review.
New Book Review
Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors by Andrew Shaffer
February 6, 2013
“. . . the dark side of genius was not a pretty sight.”
“Pouring out liquor is like burning books.” —William Faulkner
“It is difficult to differentiate, with any sureness,
between insanity and eccentricity.” —Dylan Thomas
“It is necessary to be always a little drunk.” —Charles Baudelaire
These are but a few of the infamous quips attributed to the ensemble cast of the most revered elite poets and writers of all time. Each chapter of Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors begins with either a witty or provocative quote that introduces the literary giants of each century.
Sexually transmitted diseases, tempestuous relationships, drug and alcohol addiction, depression, and suicide are but a few of the issues that plagued writers throughout time. Author Shaffer brilliantly chronicles both the excesses and triumphs of some of the most talented and notorious of them all. Read full review.
Book Review: The List: A Novel by Karin Tanabe
February 5, 2013
“When word gets around about The List, readers will clamor for their copy and devour this book.”
Juxtapose the madness of a frenetic newsroom, its various in sundry reporters and their desire for acclaim against the backdrop of political scandal, intrigue, and lurid sexual encounters, and you have The List. As a result of this combustible combination, readers get their money’s worth.
Not a moment is wasted in the plot of The List.
The roller coaster ride endemic in the world of sensation journalism is the backdrop for this novel. The characters mimic real life ambition with their risk-taking behavior to achieve power and unearthing skeletons their owners would rather remain permanently in the closet. But when the story adds the additional exploration of people in political power who have no behavioral boundaries, the plot quickly thickens. Read full review.
A Fabulous New Book Release
Scent of Darkness: A Novel by Margot Berwin
February 2, 2013
“Scent of Darkness is thoroughly engrossing.”
“I held the vial in my hand and glazed at its ruby red color so full of the promise of change. With the stopper removed a mist rose up so fast it was as if it had been pressing up against the tiny glass waiting forever to be released. The mist had a strange scent, dual in nature. If I had to say, it was dark like death by fire and very light, like sunshine and freedom.”
Such profound thoughts are deeply explored by the protagonist Evangeline (aka Eva) in Scent of Darkness. She becomes an unwitting partner in a mysterious web of secrets with her revered Grandmother Louise.
Critical to the story is that Louise is “an aromata, a master in the creation of scent.” She reminds Eva, “Those who make perfume consider themselves magicians of the highest order. They believe the scents they make possess the power to turn hate into love and neutrality into desire.” Read full review.
Book Review: Maya Angelou:
A Biography of an Award-Winning Poet and Civil Rights Activist by Donna Brown Agins
January 6, 2013
“. . . a life worth knowing and appreciating.”
There are few contemporary American writers and activists who have become literary icons. Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson) is that rare combination of talent and integrity and internationally beloved.
Marguerite was born in Missouri in 1928 during a time when African Americans were segregated and barred from having the same rights as white Americans. She was known as “Mya sister” by her older brother, which ultimately evolved into the name Maya.
Her parents divorced when she was three. Unable to care for their children, the parents placed Maya and her brother Bailey on a train to Stamps, Arkansas, to be raised by their grandmother. Maya’s childhood was very difficult living in the Deep South. She witnessed the torment of black men by the Ku Klux Klan, and the memories of these incidents along with the concomitant fear and anger she felt stayed with her forever
After years of not seeing her mother, Marguerite moved in with mom and her new boyfriend. When she was just eight years old the boyfriend molested her, causing her untold physical and emotional pain. Under the threat of her brother getting killed if she told anyone, she remained silent. Her pain was exhibited by an unwillingness to eat. Marguerite’s mother had an inkling of what had taken place and immediately took her to the hospital. Read full review.
Book Review: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
November 13, 2012
“. . . thoroughly engrossing.”
“My arms suddenly whipped straight out in front of me like a mummy, as my eyes rolled back and my body stiffened. I was gasping for air. This was the start of the dark period of my illness as I began an existence in purgatory between the real world and a cloudy fictitious realm made up of hallucinations and paranoia.”
In author Susannah Cahalan’s words above, she describes her nightmarish ordeal in both a visual and visceral manner that sets a dramatic stage for her descent into the abyss.
In this surreal true story, a brilliant account of Ms. Cahalan’s experience is painstakingly pieced together resulting in a powerful book entitled Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness.
Her story is both shocking and memorable. Her recovery is nothing short of miraculous. She is quite aware that if it hadn’t been for a very special doctor and the support of her family and partner, she may have been left to languish in a mental hospital—or worse.
Out of the blue while working as a successful reporter at the New York Post, Ms. Cahalan was struck with a malady that no one could figure out. Along with delusions, crying uncontrollably, and a series of dramatic seizures, her entire body became her worst enemy.
The symptoms presented as those similar to autism and/or schizophrenia. Not quite aware of what was occurring, she eventually felt a loss of identity, shame, and a fear for her future—if she even had one.
Stumped by the unusual cluster of both physical and mental distress doctors remained in a quandary. Her blood panel—which tested for numerous possibilities including lupus, M.S., Lyme disease, tuberculosis etc.—was negative for all the known possibilities.
In the meantime her family and boyfriend were highly concerned that she would never again be herself. Her short-term memory was nonexistent, and her communication skills were minimal. Read full review.
"A NEW BEAUTIFUL"
October 6 - 28
Oct 11th Art Talk/Book signing with Destiny Alison and Joyce Patenaude 7-9
Oct 16th screening of "CoverGirl Culture"
by Nicole Clark 7-9
Oct 25th- screening "I know a Woman Like That"
by Elaine and Virginia Madsen 7-10pm
For more inspiring information P L E A S E visit and
"Like" A New Beautiful facebook page
Become a part of our mission by writing on our fb page any information or inspiring resources that support our MISSION: To instill healthy self-image for ALL, beginning with teen's.
Check out the trailer for "A New Beautiful" Documentary
Great public parking on 2nd St. structures
all between Colorado and Wilshire
THANK YOU ALL for helping me to arrive at THREE and a half years of successful business! I leave you with this:
Together we can do the unimaginable;
we can achieve the unbelievable and
exceed expectations and limitations
that have been placed upon us by
those that are not ready for change. This
is not about right or wrong, good or bad.
It's about humanity.
Jeanie Madsen Gallery
RSVP (s) appreciated
1431 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica Ca 90401
Live Poetry Reading at Jeanie Madsen Gallery
October 9, 2012
I was honored to be asked to do a poetry reading and Q&A at the Jeanie Madsen Gallery. Jeanie is launching a new venture called "A New Beautiful" that empowers women to love and accept and love themselves as they are. the entire month is dedicated to this theme and we all hope it will be the start of something fabulous.
Left to right is the emmy award winner Virginia Madsen who read poetry from her new book
"Crayola Doesn't Make These Colors" , Jeanie Madsen the gallery owner and moi on the right.
It was a wonderful and warm event with artists of all genres.
New Book Release Entitled "Life After Death" by Damien Echols
September 26, 2012
“. . . both disturbing and enlightening.”
“All around me were people who had been abandoned to their fates. No one came to see them or offer encouragement. They are the true living dead. The world moves on and they are forgotten. The thought that I could have easily been one of them fills my heart with terror.” —Damien Echols on Death Row.'
In this unsettling and sometimes horrifying memoir, Damien Echols recounts his life both through daily journals from his abysmal abode on Death Row to haunting memories of a childhood filled with physical and psychological abuse. Read more.,
Psycho USA: Famous American Killers You Never Heard Of by Harold Schechter
August 7, 2012
“. . . [a] compelling masterpiece . . .”
Almost everyone has heard the names of world renowned murderers such as Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, and David Berkowitz aka the“Son of Sam.” Many are familiar with their horrific crimes.
But few have heard of killers just as brutal: those considered the most evil in their day, whose names and crimes have evaporated over time.
In his skillful manner, Mr. Schechter relays what he calls “prime examples of the curious workings of infamy—the mysterious forces that bestow near-mythical status on some notorious killers while consigning others to near-total oblivion.” Read More
A fascinating new release called, "Up Jumps The Devil" by Michael Poore.
July 24, 2012
“. . . an elegiac masterpiece, equally dramatic as it is eloquent.”
Throughout history the mere mention of the names Lucifer, the Devil, the Fallen Angel, or Satan conjures up a frightening and haunting visual of a beast with horns whose dominant personality traits include manipulativeness, hatred, and covetousness.
Though some of these traits are portrayed in Up Jumps the Devil, John Scratch (aka, the Devil) is a cornucopia of complex identities and deep emotions.
Michael Poore weaves a provocative tale that captivates the reader from its inception. One of the writing techniques the author so skillfully uses to capture readers is his ability to create dynamic flashbacks throughout this novel containing plenty of historical grounding.
During major cataclysmic events in the world, John Scratch actively participates in the outcomes of wars, assassinations, and yes, even creates fame for those mortals craving success and riches. The Devil is, after all, the ultimate alchemist. In return for the achievement of their earthly desires, John Scratch becomes the proprietor of each person’s soul. Read more.
Brooklyn Zoo: The Education of a Psychotherapist by Darcy Lockman
July 17, 2012
“Brooklyn Zoo would be interesting to many clinicians, especially those first starting their careers; however, it may not be the most inspiring book in the memoir genre for the average reader.”
On rounds one day at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, Dr. Singer asked, “Do you know this old psychiatry joke?”
It goes as follows: A psychiatrist is called in to see a patient. He gets there and the patient is dead. The psychiatrist goes to the physician and says, “The patient is dead.” The doctor looks horrified and replies, “What did you say to him?’’ Read More
Book Review: Life After Murder: Five Men in Search of Redemption by Nancy Mullane
June 26, 2012
“Life After Murder: Five Men in Search of Redemption is an important book for all of us—if only we could allow the mythology of prisoners to be dispelled.”
“I am driving past what remains a secret, isolated, walled-off community (aka San Quentin Prison) of more than 5,000 people in the middle of one of the most liberally minded, eco-friendly, justice oriented counties in the U.S.”
Immediately after a more detailed description of the view of this notorious California prison from the perspective of the multimillion-dollar homes above and the freeways in close proximity, author Nancy Mullane piques the reader’s interest by posing a myriad of provocative questions.
“Do they wonder who is in there? What is it like? Is prison effective? Is locking them up and throwing away the key making people feel safe and is this an effective answer to crime and punishment? Or is it a punishment born of social ignorance?” Read more
Book Review: What Comes Next by John Katzenbach
June 5, 2012
“Reading What Comes Next is an experience akin to riding the scariest roller coaster ride: You gulp with the rush of both trepidation and excitement—and you sigh with relief when it’s over.”
“Inside the black hood that covered her head, Jennifer’s entire world had narrowed to just what she could hear, what she could smell, and what she could taste and each of these senses was limited—by the pounding of her heart, the throbbing headache that lingered behind her temples, the claustrophobic darkness that enveloped her.”
And soon after this portion of the author’s calm narration of the scene, Jennifer hears one of her captors, Linda, state firmly, “From this moment you belong to us.” Read More
Book Review: Fierce Joy by A Memoir by Ellen Schecter
June 1, 2012
“Ellen Schecter creates a visual symphony with her extraordinary command of the unique language of the soul. . . . Fierce Joy is a powerful story full of hope, redemption, and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.”
Most of us don’t give much thought to the physical and emotional ramifications of being diagnosed with a life threatening illness, especially in the prime of life.
In this poignant and powerful memoir, author Ellen Schecter shares her very personal story of a transformational journey that begins with two dreaded diagnoses: Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE, an autoimmune disease otherwise known as “the wolf” coined from the distinctive rash around the eyes that resemble the markings on a wolf) coupled with Peripheral Neuropathy (PN). PN damages the protective sheath surrounding the nerves causing the loss of mobility. Read More
Book Review: Place, New Poems by Jorie Graham
April 24, 2012
“Many of the poems in Place are deeply contemplative and philosophical. At times the thought and focus required to fully understand them could be just within one’s grasp only to float away. Even at those times, the emotions that emanate from them are quite clear and powerful. Poetry lovers, philosophers, and readers who enjoy literary masterpieces will be impressed with Place.”
As the poet Robert Frost stated, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”
This adage certainly rings true after reading the last stanza of Place. In fact, it is readily apparent after reading just a few pages of Place that there is a compelling reason why one of her previous books won the Pulitzer Prize.
Author Graham breaks all the traditional rules, diamond cuts and facets them to develop an entirely unique structure of her own. For those readers who prefer rhyme and sonnets of old, Place would probably not suit your fancy. The work is very contemporary but contains a concomitant literary bent as well that is the perfect match.
But readers who enjoy the cutting edge in style and format will be totally engrossed in Ms. Graham’s work. The art and skill of poetic style can be taught by reading the great poets. This can be learned, but personal style must be developed and usually evolves over time. But no one can teach this intangible quality. It is the emotive quality of the writer that demonstrates a cultivated style that is one of the most unique this reader has encountered.
There is nothing about Place that is flashy or bellows loudly to gain attention. In fact the packaging is reminiscent of a screenplay or a thesis. The black print against the stark white contains the perfect symmetry with the emotions that are aroused including despair, anger, sadness, and loneliness.
There is also an exaltation of nature and the cycles of life that require the reader to wax philosophical. One’s intellect will definitely be challenged while trying to decipher the hidden gems within the poems. But that is the point of great poetry, is it not? Ms. Graham demonstrates an engrossing command of the English language. Like a delicate strand of pearls that are woven together, each poetic phrase and metaphor is linked to the next. The end result is that the strand is connected together in an ornate clasp that completes the look and feel of a rare piece.
Many of the stanzas in Place contain a unique style of starting a phrase or sentence from the left margin while completing the thoughts via the center of the page. Though this is obviously purposeful by the author, occasionally this style is difficult to follow; however, her thoughts are not random nor disconnected—which lessens the confusion.
Many of the poems in Place are deeply contemplative and philosophical. At times the thought and focus required to fully understand them could be just within one’s grasp only to float away. Even at those times, the emotions that emanate from them are quite clear and powerful. Poetry lovers, philosophers, and readers who enjoy literary masterpieces will be impressed with Place. Read More
Book Review: That's How I Roll by Andrew Vachss
March 20, 2012
“That’s How I Roll is about the dichotomies and incongruities within the human mind and within the context in which the story takes place. Honor, revenge, and mercy are often interwoven in the main character. Some supporting characters who appear colder than ice are also capable of displaying caring and compassion. The town that is chosen for the setting of the book is inhabited by people who, for the most part, are mercilessly distrustful not only of outsiders but also of each other. It is a barren environment that reeks of sadness and hopelessness.”
It isn’t often that readers are privy to hearing a character’s voice from death row, his words echoing from the catacomb that is his cell, chillingly recounting his life and crimes in a manner so controlled that it is easy to separate the man from the acts.
On the surface, the central character of That’s How I Roll, Esau Till, is an expert assassin filled with rage that results in the worst of consequences. Yet if one looks deeper, he is also a doggedly determined man. It is his singleminded determination to reach his last goal before his execution takes place that makes That’s How I Roll worthy of attention.
Esau, his younger brother, Tory, and his sister Rory-Anne were all victims of unspeakable horrors at the hands of their father, otherwise referred to as “the Beast.” “The Beast” had no boundaries when it came to abusing his children; he ultimately sexually forced himself on his daughter. As a result, Rory-Anne gave birth to Esau, while all three of the kids endured the ongoing agony bestowed upon them.
Perhaps as a result of this genetic mix, Esau was born with spina bifida and spent his life in a wheelchair. Rory-Anne reserved her anger and hate for Esau, calling him “an ugly twisted thing.” After abandoning him she realized the government would provide a hefty check for her on his behalf. But the abuse worsened, and all the boys wanted was to be kept safe.
Esau was, however, clever and smart as they come. There was nothing he couldn’t accomplish or figure out once his mind was made up. Tory was mentally challenged, but quite robust physically. Each of them possessed qualities the other lacked, and in tandem they erected the perfect barrier from further harm from the outside world. They were as emotionally intertwined as any two people could be and fiercely protected one another.
As their lives progressed, Esau sold drugs to earn money and was later hired by several mobs. As Esau calmly stated, “Maybe I didn’t have legs that worked but my arms and hands are potent weapons.” Not only was Esau an expert contract killer, but his keen intellect allowed also him to deal effectively with different factions without losing either side’s respect.
By and by, Esau learned a valuable truth: that if he couldn’t control his mind, he wouldn’t be able to control anything else. And in each of his ventures he learned just a little more about gaining control in every situation he confronted.
But in the end, the goal he lived for and paid for with his life was accomplished. The way he viewed it, everything he endured was worthwhile as long as his brother Tory was safe and provided for. Esau does not plead for a stay of execution, nor does he apologize to anyone. Death seems to be accepted—almost even a relief.
That’s How I Roll is about the dichotomies and incongruities within the human mind and within the context in which the story takes place. Honor, revenge, and mercy are often interwoven in the main character. Some supporting characters who appear colder than ice are also capable of displaying caring and compassion. The town that is chosen for the setting of the book is inhabited by people who, for the most part, are mercilessly distrustful not only of outsiders but also of each other. It is a barren environment that reeks of sadness and hopelessness.
Though the pace of That’s How I Roll is a bit slow at the start, the story does build in an interesting, albeit predictable manner. This novel could easily be mistaken for a memoir. In particular, the spoken account from Esau on death row is both chilling and realistic. Readers who enjoy an unusual mystery will be simultaneously entertained and horrified by That’s How I Roll.
Books Read Radio Show featuring Laura Schultz,
Sunday March 4 at 6:00 pm
Guest blog for author Madison Woods
March 2, 2012
Madison, I am honored today to share my writing journey with your viewers and for me it has been the ride of a lifetime.
I had always wanted to write and had been writing poetry since I was a child but I had little confidence in my ability to do it professionally. As it were, I guess the universe had other plans for me because as if by magic the call within me to write became overwhelming. I made a difficult decision to make a transition from a lengthy career as a psychotherapist but had no clue what I would do next.
Book Review: A Good and Useful Hurt by Aric Davis
February 21, 2012
“Although A Good and Useful Hurt is a unique thriller with characters quirky enough to be interesting, there is an intangible magical ingredient that is missing that would make this book completely compelling. Yet after all is said and done, A Good and Useful Hurt offers up a thriller that holds the reader’s attention.”
It is highly improbable that a potential reader would have any idea as to the critical import of the title A Good and Useful Hurt or the exciting adventure that awaits them. Seldom does a book come along that has more surprises than this one—not all of them pleasant or easy to digest.
At center stage in A Good and Useful Hurt are tattoos in all their rare and artistic forms and the unusual and fascinating cast of creators of body art. These often unique body decorations are designed and implemented by a group of artists who cater to the whims and desires of their customers. At regular intervals, both upstanding and unsavory clients stream through the shop to be beautified.
The shop’s owner, Mike, is a stabilizing force in the community and a talented tattoo artist. Yet he is still haunted by the tragic death of his former girlfriend. When another body piercing artist, Deb happens to come into the shop, he realizes her skill and charisma would be a welcome addition to his customer base. Mike, his right hand man Lamar, assistant Becky, and the new gal Deb become fast friends and look out for each other like a close-knit family. And though Mike and Deb seem like an unlikely pair, they fall in love and she quickly moves in with him. Theirs is a quirky but wonderful relationship.
In a parallel plot, a serial killer is roaming the streets stalking and torturing unsuspecting women. The reader hears Phil’s (the killer’s) thoughts aloud as he schemes about, fantasizes about, and hunts for new victims. The suspense of who will be his next victim builds intensely throughout the book. The reader is not quite sure at first as to how this subplot is related to the story as a whole, but the reason slowly reveals itself—and the way it is woven into the core of the story is masterful.
Out of the blue, a customer enters the shop to request a special tattoo that would include a mixture of his deceased son’s ashes with the ink in remembrance of his beloved boy.
During this process Mike begins to believe deeply that “a tattoo is an energy exchange and that a tattoo with ashes carried wild energy.” His connection to the energy he feels while implementing the tattoo makes his “hands wobble in a way they hadn’t wobbled in twenty years.” Mike doesn’t quite know it yet, but this is the beginning of a journey that will change his life forever.
In a dramatic twist, Mike gets personally involved in the energy of tattoos with ashes of the dead. A further twist leaves him with an uncanny ability to envision the victims as they appear after they are killed—bruised and bloody and very much alive and ready to exact revenge. Mike soon finds himself plotting to avenge the deaths of several victims known to him by tracking the killer.
The complicated and suspenseful plot line in A Good and Useful Hurt comes out of left field in the most surprising manner, and though implausible in real life, the supernatural overtones in the novel certainly add to the book’s interest.
There is only one small flaw within the story of the book. A subplot about Deb and Mike breaking into a local museum as a form of excitement for the two of them appears to be irrelevant, lessening the impact of an otherwise streamlined story.
Although A Good and Useful Hurt is a unique thriller with characters quirky enough to be interesting, there is an intangible magical ingredient that is missing that would make this book completely compelling. Yet after all is said and done, A Good and Useful Hurt offers up a thriller that holds the reader’s attention.
Three new reviews are in for my debut book "Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness, Songs of the Light"
January 23, 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars
Deeply moving poems of life and love and all the darkness in between. This is an unforgettable collection of poems that delve deeply into the psyche to expose our darkest secrets as well as our brightest hopes. Through them the writer guides us on a spiritual journey across the bridge that hangs precariously over fear and despair and then brings us safely back to trust and faith. The complex cadence and alliterative allusions in these poems reveals something new at each reading and I always keep a copy close at hand. And once you've read them I think you will too.
Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness, Songs of the Light is a collection of stunning poetry by a gifted poet. Schultz's work is honest, courageous, haunting, provocative, beautiful, and entirely relatable. The first part of the book, "Laments from the Darkness" takes the reader to a very personal place that most of us have visited. While writing of depression, sadness, lost love and so much more, Schultz embraces the darkness while wrapping her arms willingly around the pain. She speaks of truths that plague and define us all.
In "Songs of the Light," Schultz brings the reader along as she climbs out of the darkness, rediscovering nature's miracles, letting go, finding love, and rejoicing over tiny bursts of sunlight that were previously unable to be seen or appreciated.
The poet brilliantly explores the themes of darkness and light with glorious imagery and clarity of thought. Complementing Schultz's words are paintings by Ruth Schultz Rudolf and photographs by Anton Mueller. All combine to make a truly special book. I have already read it multiple times, each time discovering new treasures, as I suspect will be the case with many readers. A true work of art.
This collection of poems is a powerful journey which expresses a phenomenal depth of emotion ranging from sorrow, intense pain, disillusionment and loss to joy, ecstasy and enlightment. It speaks to the journey which, as a woman, I found particularly compelling. As a psychotherapist I was struck by the author's unique ability to capture a myriad of intense emotional experiences. I would highly recommend this collection and look forward to what comes next.
January 19, 2011
“Though the theme of selling one’s soul is an ancient one, this page-turner is a contemporary look into the moral and psychological implications of one’s cherished desires being manifested in reality.” The Made-Up Man is a book that truly makes us ponder our life choices long after the book’s covers are closed.
In our heart of hearts, who among us hasn’t had the fantasy at some point of capturing the attention and recognition of others? People throughout history have had yearnings for acquiring riches, power, undying love—or all of the above.
Interview with Dorothy Dreyer of Franfurt Germany
January 13, 2012
Dorothy Dreyer is an expert in the area of author interviews. She interviewed me about a year ago but decided to do an updated interview to include both my publishing accomplishments and plans for the future in the writing arena. The link to read http://we-do-write.blogspot.com/2012/01/author-update-laura-schultz.html.
Interview with Molly Hacker
January 11, 2012
My friend and fellow author Lisette Brodey decided to do a an update blog "Where are They Now" which lets people know what has been happening in the lives of the authors and artists she had previously interviewed. I am honored that she chose me as part of this project! By the way her new release "Molly Hacker is too Picky!" can be purchased now on Amazon. The link to her blog is http://bit.ly/zXRjwi.
Book Review: The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow
“In The Magic Room, Jeffrey Zaslow has created a symphony of synchronistic stories with great aplomb, engendering the gamut of emotions for the reader—from joy to sorrow and ultimately arriving at a sense of serenity. With all the negative stories surrounding us, there exist a few books that allow us to retreat into a positive space, that beckon us to read further out of sheer enjoyment, and that leave us with a sense of having participated in something heartlifting and worthwhile.”
What actually transpires for engaged couples between the time they utter the words “Let’s get married” until the actual words “I do” finalize the union? After the initial proposal, the lives of all concerned with planning the wedding are forever transformed.
Though people rarely know all that is truly involved behind the scenes (unless they have experienced it firsthand) they quickly learn that this event is not one for the faint of heart. The pace for the bride and other family members is often frenetic, and emotions run at full throttle to accomplish the “perfect” wedding.
Probably THE most anxiety provoking event in the whole process for the bride-to-be is her choice of a wedding dress. Juxtaposed against her tears of joy and hopes and dreams of wedded bliss, is the pronounced importance of choosing the right dress.
This may sound like a fairly easy task: gather family/friends, enter bridal shop, try on several gowns, have a fitting or three, and pick up the dress; however, this simple, logical sequence could not possibly describe what occurs in real life during the process of choosing the proper dress to suit each individual woman.
Author Jeffrey Zaslow brilliantly examines how the love (or lack thereof) we give to our daughters affects their lives and choices they make regarding their prospective mates.
The Magic Room depicts a slice of life that contains an intriguing history of seven decades of a family business dedicated solely to brides and their entourages during the most exciting time in their lives.
A potential reader should not dismiss this book as a simple story about weddings and the concomitant frenzy. It is so much more than that on every level. Not only is the reader able to delve into the minds of family relationships at their core. Additionally, the history of marriage and family values are discussed in relation to the current trends in marriage set against the landscape of the constantly evolving American society.
The backdrop for this insightful book is Becker’s Bridal Shop located in the small town of Fowler, Michigan. More specifically, Becker’s Bridal Shop houses what is referred to as the Magic Room, in which women by the hundreds (from distant destinations) congregate at this oasis like their mothers and grandmothers before them. After all, the shop has been owned by three generations of the Becker family—and is rumored to be eerily haunted by the presence of every previous bride that has stood in the Magic Room.
After exiting the bridal dress area, each woman gingerly steps up on the beloved pedestal of the sacrosanct sanctuary surrounded by mirrors sparkling from every angle to view the bride in all her bejeweled glory.
Mr. Zaslow’s choice of conveying his messages about love and hope through the real lives of women about to wed is thoroughly engaging.
One poignant example is that of Megan who, just four months before her wedding, was in a tragic car accident in which she was violently thrust through the windshield. One finger was severed and her right hand was mangled. She had only been engaged for about a week before the accident. But in the midst of excruciating skin grafts, plastic surgeries and a painful recovery, her fiancé held steadfast in his love and dedication to her. Their wedding day was a celebration of gratitude toward both life and a new path ahead.
As her mother stated wisely: “Just because the accident happened during Megan’s engagement doesn’t mean she isn’t starting out with a perfect life. Perfect doesn’t mean unflawed or without challenges or that bad things won’t happen.” The pictures of Megan and Shane hand-in-hand at their wedding could prompt even the most cynical person to shed a tear or two.
In The Magic Room, Jeffrey Zaslow has created a symphony of synchronistic stories with great aplomb, engendering the gamut of emotions for the reader—from joy to sorrow and ultimately arriving at a sense of serenity. With all the negative stories surrounding us, there exist a few books that allow us to retreat into a positive space, that beckon us to read further out of sheer enjoyment, and that leave us with a sense of having participated in something heartlifting and worthwhile.
e-book Now Available
Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness,
Songs of the Light
December 17, 2011
Debut book Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness, Songs of the Light is now an e-book for $6.99 which is much less than the paperback version. Considering a book for X-Mas? Link to order is
Janet Kvammen Book Cover Designer
December 16, 2011
Janet was the book cover designer for my debut book "Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness, Songs of the Light." She has now designed poetographs of poems from my book as a X-Mas Gift and here they are. I think she did a fabulous job converting one of my mom's paintings to become the book cover so if you are looking for a designer, she is definitely the one! For more info on Janet visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/PlanetJanet-Creations/210914705597127,
Comments - Suggestions - Ideas - Etc.
New Release From Author Lisette Brodey
December 8, 2011
It is with great pleasure that I announce to you all a new novel by the prolific writer Lisette Brodey. It is entitled "Molly Hacker is Too Picky!" and here is a short synopsis and link to purchase. I first became acquainted with Ms. Brodey's work when I heard about her from a friend. I bought her novel "Crooked Moon" and was totally enthralled with it--a definite page-turner. I also came to know her as a person and I can honestly say that she is not only a wonderful writer but she is a wonderfully kind and thoughtful person. Her integrity both in her writing and the way she operates in the world is beyond reproach.
So here is a short synopsis of her latest novel.
At thirty-two, newspaper reporter Molly Hacker vows to never attend another wedding until she has had her own. And that’s a problem because Molly’s younger sister, Hannah, is going to be married in one year. Armed with snark, wit, and fabulous good looks, “Picky Molly” embarks on a quest to find Mr. Right in her hometown.
Things get complicated fast. In no time at all, Molly has four “men of interest” and the memories of a lost love to send her overanalytic, befuddled mind into serious overdrive.
Tweaking Molly’s last nerve is the town’s most visible socialite, Naomi Hall-Benchley, who, for self-serving reasons, is hell-bent on setting up “Picky Molly Hacker” and she doesn’t care who she has to manipulate or hurt to do it. Just how far will she go?
“Molly Hacker Is Too Picky!” takes the reader on a yearlong romp through Molly’s mind and a joyride through her life. Her dating life, town secrets, a group of quirky, crazy characters, and Naomi’s machinations collide head-on at a holiday gala that will change the social landscape of Swansea forever. As the New Year rolls in, Molly gets earth-shattering news. Can she go on? Will life ever return to abnormal again?
Link to order her book is: http://amzn.to/rJ95sZ.
New Feature on the Casey Anthony Trial
December 6, 2011
I am extremely excited about the new feature story by Claudette Walker in Crime Magazine. Her book entitled The Casey Anthony Murder Trial' is an in-depth analysis of the trial and the case itself.
I am honored to have been a contributor to this book "The Casey Anthony Murder Trial" by writing the postscript.
CRIME MAGAZINE" an encyclopedia of crime has given her a well-deserved honor of this feature story. I am so excited and thrilled for her to have this in-depth book in such a prestigious crime magazine.The link is http://www.crimemagazine.com/casey-anthony-murder-trial-modern-american-tragedy.
Fascinating New Guest Blog by Claudette Walker Author of "C Street"
December 1, 2011
I first became acquainted with the suspenseful writing Author Claudette Walker a few years ago. Her novel "C Street" was an edgy page turner that I could not put down. Her new book "The Casey Anthony Murder Trial" is also a great book that recounts the entire trial. She recently consented to write a guest blog about what constitutes a great thriller and I am anxious to present this to you. See Guest Blogger to read more.
Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness,
Songs of the Light
November 28, 2011
Coffee Bean Book Signing
November 9, 2011
It was a wonderful signing with supportive folks all around. To me that what its all about!
First Book Signing at Crystal Fantasy/Palm Springs
What a Blast!
November 8, 2011
I had so much fun at my 1st book signing at Crystal Fantasy in Palm Springs, CA. Thanks to everyone that supported me and came out. Joy and Scott who own the store were absolutely wonderful to work with and their gifts/books are out of this world. So thought I'd share the first pix taken of me there. I highly recommend book signings for authors as it's a great way to mingle, sell books and network with people!
Book Signing in Palm Springs California This Saturday, November 5th
November 1, 2011
I am very excited (and a bit nervous) to announce my first book signing for "Arise and Shine:Laments from the Darkness, Songs of Light." If you live anywhere near Palm Springs, please stop by and say hello. Here is the link http://www.meetup.com/Crystal-Fantasy-Enlightenment-Center-Palm-Springs/events/38433802/.
Thought I'd Share my Latest Book Review for the New York Journal of Books Eva Braun: Life with Hitler
October 25, 2011
“Though she spent much of her life with one of the most controversial and despised men in history, it is clear that Eva Braun was willing to sacrifice her life completely for him. Whatever one might think of their relationship, it is certainly worth the time to read about and ponder the complexities and mindsets of these individuals.”
Who was Eva Braun? Was she a naive, passive victim who happened to simply fall in love with an older, charismatic man known as Adolf Hitler? Or was she, as some have alluded to, a shrewd partner who played an active role in one of the most massive genocides in history? How much did she share the Fuhrer’s antiSemitic beliefs and/or his plan of exterminating millions to accomplish the goal of “purifying” Europe?
In Eva Braun: Life with Hitler, author and German historian Heike B. Görtemaker systematically and methodically paints a portrait of Eva Braun as a woman who is multifaceted and complex. Her analysis is based on statements and observations from people in Hitler’s inner circle as well as documented details (including photos) delineated in chronological sequence both prior to and after the war. The research in this biography is impeccable, including over 40 pages of notes in the post-text and an extensive bibliography that would impress even the most discriminating reader.
Shrouded under the veil of secrecy for most of her adult life, Eva Braun remains somewhat of an enigma. Hitler’s public declaration was that “Germany would be his only bride.” In private though, a secret relationship between the two continued to grow despite his public image of being solely dedicated to the state.
Eva met Adolf Hitler in 1929 when she was 17 years old and he was 40. As Ms. Görtemaker states in her conclusion from her research “Nothing could stop the attraction that apparently sprang up spontaneously on both sides” from the instant they met. Eva Braun and Adolf Hitler solidified this enduring relationship toward the end of their lives by getting married.
Apparently Eva Braun achieved her ultimate goal—marriage to the Fuehrer—which finally legitimized her importance to him while also assuring her place in history.
There are conflicting descriptions of Eva Braun from Hitler’s closest allies. Her relationship with the power players within the Nazi regime differ depending on who in the entourage is asked. Of course after the war, Nazi officers were more invested in saving their own lives and may have purposefully distanced themselves from any close relationship with her. Convenient memory losses were common among the Nazi elite.
There is little in the way of public documents that would fully explain Eva Braun and her motives as most of her papers, photos, and films she created remain in the National Archives in Washington. There are no letters to her from Hitler or vice versa that we know of. Hitler was very leery about any personal correspondence for fear that anything in writing could somehow be used against him. However, Ms. Görtemaker’s documentation of other sources intricately put the pieces together that form the puzzle of Eve Braun’s life. There are clues to the young Eva’s relationship with Hitler and an educated assessment that portrays Eva’s life as a young woman.
Some such clues are in various writings from people such as Albert Speer (one of Hitler’s most trusted colleagues) who described himself as well as Ms. Braun as an “addict, dependent and possessed from without.” He further explained that “they were both equally prisoners of their emotions, even enslaved. She was like me, under Hitler’s so to speak hypnotic spell and unable to break free of him.” There is no evidence that Ms. Braun was politically motivated, nor a member of the Nazi party. In an interview before his death, Albert Speer stated that Ms. Braun had been “helpful to many people behind the scenes” which was not known to anyone outside the inner circle of power.
It is clear from Eva Braun: Life with Hitler that Eva Braun was “fiercely” attached to and loyal to Adolf Hitler up and until their joint suicides via poison capsules. In fact, Hitler’s secretary Traudl Junge described Eva as having a “loyalty complex.”
Eva Braun: Life with Hitler is both an engaging and hypnotic read for those who enjoy history as well as biographies. Though some of Ms. Braun’s deepest thoughts are still somewhat an enigma, the book both enlightens and crystallizes much of what made her tick.
Though she spent much of her life with one of the most controversial and despised men in history, it is clear that Eva Braun was willing to sacrifice her life completely for him. Whatever one might think of their relationship, it is certainly worth the time to read about and ponder the complexities and mindsets of these individuals..
Another Piece of Exciting News
October 19, 2011
Small World Books in Venice Beach, CA has agreed to display my new book on the local authors table. It is a fabulous literary oriented bookstore that truly is a gem! On top of all the great books, they have a feline mascot named "Conan the Librarian" who dashes around pointing out the new bestsellers. LOL.
My First Book Signing Event is in Los Angeles
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011: 4 PM to 6 PM
October 16, 2011
This is such an exciting time for me as there are a lot of firsts and this is one of the most exciting events ever. My first book signing event in Los Angeles. There are more to come, so please stay tuned. If you care to share your experiences about your own signings, I'd love to hear them in the comments section.
"Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness,
Songs of the Light"
Coffee Bean & Tea
Venice and Motor Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
First Interview About My New Book
October 15, 2011
Lisette Brodey did a wonderful job on this interview and I enjoyed it immensely. Meanwhile sales of the book are brisk, so stay tuned for upcoming book signings. The link to Lisette site is http://mollyhacker.com/.
My First Review on Goodreads of my Debut Book,
"Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness, Songs of Light"
September 28, 2011
New York Journal of Books Highlights: Arise and Shine
September 28, 2011
I was just notified by the New York Journal of Books, where I write book reviews, is highlighting my new book "Arise and Shine: Laments from the darkness, Songs of the Light" on their fiction page. Thanks so much to Ted Sturtz and Rhonda Sturtz for their support in my new endeavor. The link is http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/genres/fiction.
September 27, 2011
Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness,
Songs of the Light
by Laura Schultz
After a year-long search to find the publisher that was right for me, I connected with Silver Bow Publishers in Canada. As of September 27, 2011 it is now for sale. The title of my debut collection of poetry is "Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness, Songs of the Light." The book is a tribute to my recently deceased mother who was a renowned painter and sculptor. Thus most of the pictures are those of her paintings that were displayed in galleries all over the country.
This collection is a visual journey through poems that range from “Solitary Tears” to “Transfiguration” and is a transformative experience along the path to the formation of personal empowerment through discovering one’s voice.
What people are saying about Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness, Songs of the Light
“In her generous heartfelt collection of poems, Laura Schultz urges us to look up and dive deep, and to venture within so we may embrace the joys, pain, and wonderment of all that we are, have been, and hope to become.” –Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of “Saving CeeCee Honeycutt”
“Inspirational, lyrical, impassioned, Schultz is a virtuoso story teller and brilliant poet”- Nancy Duci Denofio, Poet and Author who was recognized by William Jefferson Clinton for her outstanding achievements.
“Laura Schultz writes verse that is vulnerable haunting and evocative. She speaks to the heart and the gut, not the reader’s head.” – Dan L Hayes, Poet and Author of the memoir, Freedoms is just Another Word
“Laura Schultz has a unique and rare depth in her poetry that reaches past the boundaries of self. She wields her paintbrush of colorful words and creates a vivid tapestry of beautiful emotions. She guides you down the hidden pathways of her heart, leading into the canyons of her soul, bringing you face to face with your psyche.” – Candice James, Poet Laureate, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
“Engaging modern day poet Laura Schultz’s enchanting collection of poems will delight her readers worldwide and leave them in a state of amazing admiration—a favorite of mine.”- Stuart Ross McCallum: renowned English author of “Beyond my Control”
The link to purchase is http://www.alibris.com/stores/silverbow?slr_ref=silverbow
Book Review: The Maid's Daughter by Mary Romero
September 1, 2011
“The Maid’s Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream is a riveting read for both academics and laypersons. This thoughtful and fascinating book is a result of intensive interviews and research spanning over two decades. . . . Author Romero has successfully encapsulated the plight and struggles of domestic workers and given the reader a great deal to contemplate.”
How does a young girl born in Los Angles but living her first few years in Mexico come to terms with establishing a self that is whole and complete while being shuttled between diametrically opposed cultures?
Few contemporary Americans can relate to the experience of being wedged between two cultures that are polar opposites in terms of class, structure, and language. As the cultures clash at every turn, the struggle to accomplish an identity is incomprehensible to many.
The Maid’s Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream is a riveting read for both academics and laypersons. This thoughtful and fascinating book is a result of intensive interviews and research spanning over two decades. Author Romero is uniquely qualified to extrapolate the critical points in each interview, examining the meaning of each person’s comments and feelings.
Ms. Romero demonstrates her depth of expertise not solely because of her credentials as a Professor and Faculty Head of Justice and Social Inquiry at a major university. Equally important to the fundamental success of the study is the respect she commands as a Latina interviewer who cares deeply about each character, listens without judgment, and is able to clearly identify their struggles—while simultaneously remaining objective. Ms. Romero delicately reconstructs the lives she studies as part and parcel of a larger social context that makes sense within the American hierarchy of class structure.
The critical people in The Maid’s Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream are Olivia and her mother Carmen, who are provided food and shelter in exchange for domestic chores in various privileged families. Much of the book is told through Olivia’s voice, providing an emotional connection for the reader almost immediately.
Through Olivia’s powerful voice, clarity of thought and wisdom far beyond her years, we are allowed to vicariously live with Olivia throughout her young life—a life of hardship, rage, cognitive dissonance, and unending search for identity.
Though Carmen and Olivia’s real names are masked to protect their anonymity, the reader becomes so familiar with their psyches and conversations that after awhile, they begin to feel like beloved friends or family members. Such is not the case with Carmen’s various employers even though they have their frailties and issues that we begin to understand as the book progresses.
One of the main sources of confusion for Olivia in living in the maid’s quarters with her mother for much of her youth is the periodic treatment of her as a family member but not without an underlying tone of paternalism or racism. Though she is periodically treated to shopping expeditions or an outing at the country club with their kids, Olivia is inevitably treated as “the other”—the proverbial outsider.
Each of Carmen’s employers belong to upper class, sheltered families that have no sense of the racial and class stereotypes and attitudes requiring strict adherence in their daily attitudes. And as these attitudes are inculcated into the minds of their offspring, the cycle continues to be one that is difficult to penetrate.
While all the domestic workers in Carmen’s immediate vicinity raise children of these privileged families, perform all the chores, and provide emotional support to the parents as well, the workers themselves are often relegated to remaining anonymous in the shadows of the maid’s quarters separated from the rest of the household. Due to the limited time available for non-work related activities, the children of workers unfortunately are deprived of that same nurturing and parenting and are often left solely with a monetary relationship with their mothers.
As a result, the children begin to rely on extended family members or older kids. Eventually they are recruited to help with chores as well which leaves little time for homework, sports or other outside activities. Being forced to play with the employer’s kids is awkward at best and children like Olivia begin to resent the complicity of their parent in what they view as disrespect for and manipulation of their parent by the employer.
Olivia herself endures degradation as well. During a party at one employer’s house, the guests throw pennies on the floor and expect her to pick them up. This experience was one that taught her very quickly that she was truly an outsider in foreign territory. She was constantly treated as “the other,” teased about her accent, and never felt safe. The rules of each family were different and thus, the way she was expected to act was always in flux. Olivia’s bosses molded both her behavior, clothing style as well as planned her educational options and she was expected to comply with their wishes.
As she matures, Olivia develops her own ideas many of which are at odds with her mother’s employers. Being wedged between privilege and poverty, she begins to feel alienated from each side of the fence. She feels a part of the Mexican community in Los Angeles; however, the disparity in their life experiences creates distance from them as well. Although she successfully “passes” at times in her youth, that same behavior prevents her from expressing her Mexican working class roots, though eventually she does embrace her “Chicana” identity. Though one of her mother’s main employers tries to persuade her to date white men and leave her culture behind in order to succeed in the world, Olivia revels in being herself and pursuing her goals regardless of their feelings.
As her activism grew into adulthood and college bound to UCLA, she continues to experience internal conflict about both wanting success and middle-class comforts and at the same time wanting to erase her material desires. The resulting identity that ultimately forms is that of a complex mix of all her experiences. In the end, Olivia thrives as an empowered professional with children she adores.
While The Maid’s Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream is an emotionally draining book at times—the reader is witness to the abusive treatment of others—it is well worth the depth of experience and knowledge one gains by reading it. The intensive research is impeccably presented in perfect sequence with logical conclusions. Each interview is compelling in both its content and topics for exploration. Author Romero has successfully encapsulated the plight and struggles of domestic workers and given the reader a great deal to contemplate.
A New and Riveting Book About The Casey Anthony Murder Trial
August 14, 2011
When my friend and outstanding author of the thriller "C Street" told me that she was writing a book with her daughter about the Casey Anthony case, I thought it was a timely and important story to tell. I was even more thrilled when she asked me if I would write the Post Script for the book. Many of us were glued to the trial about the death of this beautiful and innocent child.
Reading it makes me realize how right I was about the importance of this book. I also became aware of how much I did not know about the horrific death of this child and the judicial process that was to try her mother for the death. I walked away from reading this book with an understanding of how unpredictable our justice/jury system can be. From the media and shows like CSI, juries currently expect a great deal of forensic evidence such as DNA, fiber, strands of hair etc. However, such is rarely the case in a homicide. Furthermore, young missing children do not garner a great deal of news coverage, unless the media is focused on that particular child whose case then develops into a high profile one.It would behoove all of us to be more sensitive to and become more aware of those whose task it is to guard our most precious resources, our children. To Purchase.
August 2, 2011
“Helen Schulman effectively portrays a birds-eye view of modern life and the fragile nature of living in our contemporary society.”
How do parents handle a crisis with their teenage son without the entire family falling apart in the process? Will the family be forever fractured or can some semblance of normalcy return?
The novel This Beautiful Life delves deeply into a very contemporary issue that is tearing families asunder in this the age of unlimited Internet access and the teen predilection for posting personal videos. When the video is of a sexual nature, then the consequences are wildly unpredictable.
Now Published in Poetry Anthology
July 11, 2011
My poetry is now published in an international poetry anthology entitled "Sudden Thunder". As the only poet in the U.S. asked to contribute, I am really honored to be a part of this book. Thanks to all the great poets who contributed to this powerful anthology and the publishers Ken Ader and Candice James at Silver Bow Publishing. The link to purchase is http://www.alibris.com/stores/silverbow?slr_ref=silverbow
June 7, 2011
“I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl appears to be an example of the difficulty some poets have in translating poetic images into effective prose. While powerful images are effective in poetry, prose requires greater structure and continuity.”
Kelle Groom’s poetry is highly respected for its timely, post-modern exploration into the depth of human emotions from acute pain and suffering to those rare, sublime moments of joy . . . and everything in between. Based on the complexities of her inner life, her poetry is replete with the songs of sadness and redemption. Her first poetry collection, Underwater City, has been described in myriad reviews with magical terms such as “Her poems are a night sky—constellations that move through the dark.”
I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl is Groom’s first foray into prose in the form of a memoir.
March 22, 2011
Since I love sharing the books I have reviewed, here is a wonderful novel entitled "Night Road" by Kristin Hannah.
How does a cohesive, loving family cope with a life altering tragedy that has the potential of destroying the very fabric of that family system? Is it possible for the remaining family members to cope...
Night Road is an exquisitely written novel that explores the journey of the Farradays, whose seemingly idyllic family is blessed with full lives, laughter, friends, activities a deep and abiding sense of caring and emotional bonding. Most people could only dream about a family such as this in their wildest fantasies and rarely witness one up close and personal. Though these rare glimpses have been captured in colorful pictures similar to those in a Norman Rockwell painting, the closest visuals we may have witnessed have been on television perhaps, with the liveliness of a 1950s show such as “Father Knows Best” or “Leave it To Beaver.” The enclave of families in Night Road appear to be protected from the struggles of modern urban life—drawn together in the strength of common values.
But is the Farraday clan as really as perfect as it seems? Read full review
Personal Note to All
March 28, 2011
I wanted to let you all know that due to my mom's death, I will be taking a hiatus from posting here on my blog. I didn't think I would feel this deep of a loss as I have since she had Alzheimers for many years. But those of you who have lost a parent will understand that even though one thinks they are prepared, that is not always the case. I hope you all are doing well and I'll see you soon!
Quote of the Week
February 7, 2011
I've added a new feature to the website called "Quote of the Week" that includes inspirational or interesting quotes for writers. If you click here it will take you directly to this new feature but am giving you a sneek preview by giving you a sample of this week's quote.
"To imagine yourself inside another person...is what a story writer does in every piece of work; it is his first step, and his last too, I suppose."~Eudora Welty
February 6, 2011
I am excited to announce that after my review of the espionage/thriller "C Street" the author Claudette Walker placed the review on her blog so please feel free to check out the review on her colorful and fascinating author blog. Her book is an absolute page turner and could not put it down.
New Feature: A Guest Blog!..
January 22, 2011
I have been thinking for a long while about adding a new dimension to my website that would include a guest blog to both highlight and showcase the creative talent of writers who I've come to know as well as those who might also be able to facilitate the creative process for other writers. I had no idea who that first blogger would be, except I knew intuitively in my heart, that I would recognize him or her when that feeling struck that inner chord.
All I knew about this potential blogger was that I wanted the first guest to be someone that I connected with on all levels,was mesmerized by a special skill set in communicating with others and whose writing I highly respected as well. Just a few days ago, I had the pleasure of witnessing a woman who is able to comfortably expound on her wide breadth of knowledge in her genre, displays her gifts with ease, teaches others with grace and has an incredibly humble spirit as well:)
Candice James, a Poet Laureate might be better known as "The Poetic Mistress of Magic". It is abundantly clear to readers of her many books why she was chosen as a Poet Laureate. She is a master story-teller who lithely weaves her poetic tapestries with silver-spun threads that mesmerizes anyone who is able to submerge themselves within her streams of graceful and profound verse. Her latest of over 6 books is entitled "Inner Heart: A Journey".
Her blog contained below contains some of her favorite examples of various genres of poetry. In addition, she provides other writers some useful creative exercises for those who are experiencing some form of writer's block and facilitate the process of diffusing those blockages.
Please welcome the honorable Poet Laureate, Candice James. Feel free to add your comments at the end of her blog and any future suggestions for this new venue of sharing and learning from one another.
Please click Here to read.
Book Review: C Street, by Claudette Walker
January 22, 2011
I recently reviewed this awesome thriller/espionage book by Claudette Walker called "C Street". The review has been posted on both Amazon and Goodreads by Claudette Walker" and wanted to share it with everyone. So here is my link to the review which is also now posted on her blog. It was an exceptional book that I highly recommend. Congratulations Claudette, on a wonderful writing masterpiece that is relevant to our times! Click Here! to read...
January 16, 2011
My article, Strychnine and Stilettos: The Anotomy of Female Serial Killers and Their Victims, has been published in Crimespree Magazine.
In the classic Frank Capra film Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Carey Grant stars as a drama critic/author who, after getting married, rushes home to tell his two aunts ( sweet, church-going old ladies) about his new marriage. Alas, he discovers much to his surprise, that his aunts’ have been poisoning lonely, elderly men and burying all 12 of them in the basement. They did not kill these men for gain or revenge, but in the sincere belief that it was an act of charity to “help these lonely old men.” Also starring Peter Lorre and Raymond Massey, this timeless film (which some say was Carey Grant’s finest role) is a dramatic (albeit humorous), depiction of real life female serial killers. At that time these flesh and blood murderers were merely believed to be insane. Today, these female killers would be known perhaps, as a combination of “Team Killers” and the “Angels of Death” type of female serial killer.
Women: The Quiet Serial Killers
An estimated 10 percent of serial killers are women. Their victims are husbands and lovers, parents and children, siblings, friends, and sometimes even patients under their care. In fact, after being captured (usually after many years and many murders later) some of these women serial-killers say they “killed for love or to help ease the pain of sick patients they cared for very much.” Very few of the intended targets had a clue about the fate that was in store for them at the hands of a woman previously perceived as one of their closest allies. As Eric Hickey so aptly states in his book Serial Murderers and Their Victims, “These are the quiet killers. They are every bit as lethal as male serial murderers, but we are seldom aware one is in our midst due to the low visibility of their killing."
The entire piece will be in an e-book very soon combined with the research and article research on Male Serial Killers. I'll keep you posted!
December 28, 2010
I was so impressed with the book "Crooked Moon" I wanted to share my review of this awesome read with other potential readers, so please click on the book cover below...
Down on the Border...
December 20, 2010
The Coal Hill Review has published one of my essays, Border Town Ballad. Please feel free to read the essay by clicking Here.
December 16, 2010
Another fabulous author that I respect has a debut novel out and wanted everyone to know about it! I've read much of it and am very impressed with her writing style, dialogue and incredible sense of humor. The title is Cupcakes, Lies and Dead Guys by Pamela Dumond and here is the cover and short blurb about this wonderful book.
Annie, a baker with a pinch of psychic ability discovers a famous self-help author has ruined her marriage. The author is murdered with one of Annie's cupcakes. Now she's not only framed for murder, but the author's ghost haunts her to find who killed him. Can she infiltrate the lives of the L.A. wackos who wanted him dead before she is wacked by the real killer?
December 10, 2010
I'm honored to be able to announce books by authors that I respect and I don't promote authors all that often but I feel it's important to support each other in that way when we are able. The new book "C Street" was recently released and I'm very excited about it's debut, as I've come to greatly admire the author, Ms.Claudette Walker.
C Street is the story of what could be. It is a very possible scenario of the present and future drawn from Ms. Walker's examination of the powerful men in recent history. She came to know some of the players of Washington, D.C while married to a government lawyer (now deceased) and she realized then that total power totally corrupts. C Street is also a story of intense love, as well as good and evil. Read more about the book & links to best prices worldwide at www.AbacusBooks.com
New Review For New York Journal Of Books
December 1, 2010
I just reviewed this fascinating book for writers but it appeals to mental health professionals and many other types of readers. I believe it's a must read for writers who would like to create psychologically accurate characters, especially in thrillers or screenplays. Please click here to read.
November 19, 2010
I'm very excited about my first article as a Featured Crime Writer entitled "Killing for Attention: Munchausen by Proxy" which is a birds-eye view into a very strange but fascinating disorder. Please click here to read.
New Book Review
November 17, 2010
|My review of Profiling: The Psychology of Catching Killers, by David Owen, can be read on the New York Journal of Books website. Click here or on the book image to read.|
November 6, 2010
My writer friend, Claudette Walker has made a video book trailer which is on YouTube. I've have told some of you about her and her new book coming in a few weeks, C Street. Please watch the trailer here
November 4, 2010
Please consider taking a look at an insightful book by a wonderful true crime writer and friend of mine. Aileen Wuornos was a complex female serial killer. The study of her life and psyche by Author Sue Russell is important to further our understanding of the mind and factors that create lethal consequences in our society.
Lethal Intent, Sue Russell’s biography of serial killer Aileen Wuornos is reissued today as a “Pinnacle Books True Crime Classic.” Aileen confessed to killing seven men in Florida and was executed in 2002.
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt Book Review
November 2, 2010
Rarely have I read a novel I enjoyed so thoroughly that I was moved to write a review on Amazon. Beth Hoffman's debut novel entitled "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" is one such book that is so charmingly and brilliantly written with humor, style and substance. Please click here for my review along with the many others praising her book. And if so moved, perhaps think of this amazing book as a X-Mas/Chanukah gift for someone who loves to be entertained and have a soulful experience at the same time ! Congratulations to Ms. Hoffman for writing what I hope to be many more books from an uber-talented writer :)
Runway Magazine - Fall 2010
October 23, 2010
My article, Are You Ready For Marriage?, is feated in the Fall Edition of Runway Magazine. Click Here to read it.
And the Winner of the "One Lovely Blog Award" this week goes to..
October 22, 2010
My dear friend and Author Maria Savva !! The award was granted by Sandra Yeun MacKay, Author of the book "My Schizophrenic Life:The Road to Recovery from Mental Illness". Please check out Maria Savva's blog at http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1418272.Maria_Savva/blog and see why this honor is warranted. Maria is both a wonderful writer and a fabulous person!!!! Also, Sandra's book about mental illness has been getting rave reviews and is next on my list to read. Additionally,this is a great way to introduce people to new blogs which they might find interesting. Congratulations to Maria and for the creative idea from Sandra Yeun MacKay!! Happy writing and have a great rest of the week :)
October 17, 2010
I have officially accepted the honor of a position as a Featured True Crime Writer for www.speakingofjonbenet.com . I will be writing an article every 60 days --and am really excited ! Click here to view my Bio and dedicated page
New York Journal of Books
October 15, 2010
Feel free to visit my new Book Reviewer page on the newly re-vamped website for The New York Journal of Books. Click here to read.
Blood Moon Rising Magazine
October 8, 2010
Both of my articles about werewolves and vampires in film and tv are featured in a Special Halloween Issue of www.bloodmoonrisingmagazine.com I'm ready for the ghosties and goblins---are you?????
New York Journal of Books
October 8, 2010
As of today, my new Book Reviewer Page is up on the New York Journal of Books website.
The Vampire Mob
October 6, 2010
I went to a benefit screening and stand up comedy show last Sunday night for the Vampire Mob Web Series. Here is the pix of me in front of the cameras with my Web Designer, Paul Sherman. The comedians were hysterical and Joe Wilson the writer is a great guy too!
Quote of the Week
October 1, 2010
A new feature begins today, Quote of the Week. Please send in your favorites for consideration.
Click here to read.
My First Official Interview
September 27, 2010
My First Official Interview is now hot off the presses---with the brilliant writer/interviewer Dorothy Dreyer. Dorothy did a magnificent job of calming my nerves, asking fabulous questions that were tailored just for me and took the time to place all the pieces together. Thanks, Dorothy! Click here to read.
The Wonderful World of Publishing
September 26, 2010
I continually hear about publishing nightmares from fellow writers/authors. On the flip side I read newsletters and posts from various agents that delineate some pretty unbelievable query missteps and errors that are sent to them without proper research etc. I've been really lucky/blessed to find/attract some fabulous editors etc.along my publishing journey (and a few not so fabulous folks) AND the perfect publisher for my first book--coming soon. He loves my work,has given me almost complete creative freedom (a writer's dream, LOL) and I adore him!
Perhaps you might be willing to share your interesting/quirky-- and yes, disconcerting experiences that you've had in your writing/editing/publishing career and we'd love to be able to start a conversation rolling w/some great dialogue. I look forward to your responses and will see you back here soon:) Until then Happy Writing !
The website, Speaking of Jon Benet, has linked my article "Hiding in Plain Site: The Psyche of Serial Killers" published at Crime Magazine. See the full article here.
Carnival Against Child Abuse: Inner Child
September 20, 2010
I am very honored to have been chosen by my good friend/great writer Dan L Hays to post 2 of my poems in his latest edition of "Thoughts Along the Road to Healing" (September 2010 Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: Inner Child). The two poems are entitled "Solitude" and "Evolving" and reflect some of my own struggles that I carried from childhood into adulthood. A special thanks to Dan for giving me the opportunity to help others through my poetry!
True Crime/Crime Fiction Writing
September 15, 2010
As most of you know, I have written two pieces on Serial Killers and have been interested in the subject for many years. How the human mind operates has been debated for eons:). Have you written a true crime or crime fiction book or based on a high profile person's life story/case? If so I would love to hear how you jousted with/solved the puzzles of your character and made them viable and believable(if crime fiction). If your story or book was about a true crime case, did you allow the research you did to disturb you, provoke any anxiety, frustrate you in any way? Feel free to share any experiences you have had in this arena and I'm sure everyone would love to be part of the creative process that makes writing in this genre special to you.
September 14, 2010
For those of you who enjoy the intrigue and psychological aspects of the Showtime television Series "Dexter" or are just intrigued by books about serial killers, criminology or psychology, feel free to read my newest book review on a new release (September, 2010) at the New York Journal of Books
September 8, 2010
I'd love to hear what types of projects you are planning next in your mind that have not yet been brought to fruition on paper--if you care to share, of course:)
The Muse Within
September 2, 2010
I've been absolutely blown away by the inspiration provided to me via my pesky muse. She's temperamental and demanding but oh, so beguiling and alluring as well! Does yours wake you up at night as mine does? Please tell me about your struggles and challenges, your triumphs and thoughts for your future writings. I look forward to your comments and sharing. Drop me a line and see where the discussion leads us:) Best to you and happy writing!
My Inner Companion
August 5, 2010
I'm pleased to announce that Abandoned Towers Magazine Online has published My Inner Companion. You may read it by clicking here.
Connections for Women
August 1, 2010
My first article published in Connections for Women, Self-Confidence ~ The Secret to Sex Appeal at any Age, can be read by clicking here. Please feel free to make a comment in the comments section at the end of the article.
Exciting New AND Personal Publishing Accomplishment
July 29, 2010
I am very excited to announce that the Coal House Review, a renowned literary review (which is a part of Autumn House Press) has published my personal essay entitled "A Poet's Journey". It is my personal struggle through life's ups and downs, i.e lack of self-confidence in my writing ability, challenges with a life-changing-- clinically diagnosed terminal illness and how the gift of writing transformed my life. My mission through my poetic voice became one of inspiring and empowering other poets and writers to follow their dream to write. To read it click here
Huge Announcement Regarding New Online Writer’s Group called Writer’s Etc.
July 25, 2010
Last week I created a new online writer’s group called Writer’s etc. Along with my co-director, Italia Gandolfo-Trent, we have been recruiting some of the most inspiring writers the world has to offer. In 48 hours we already had over 300 members! The members range from NY Times bestselling novelists to journalists, editors, publishers, book reviewers and members of the Hollywood community.
The group is a forum for writers, publishing pros and members of Hollywood. The mission is to discuss creative ideas, navigate through the world of writing, publishing and film endeavors and to support and encourage each other’s talents and gifts!
If you or someone you know fits the above criteria for membership, you may contact me directly via the submission form on this site as membership is by invitation only. The group is free of charge and one can participate as much or as little as they want to i.e. there is no pressure. WE are all busy people so we understand and respect each individual’s time constraints. All we ask is that members get involved in helping others in the group however they can with wisdom, support etc.
WE are excited and proud to have Anton Mueller as our first resident expert to lead the first group discussion on July 27th. Mr. Mueller analyzes scripts and books for development of movie projects for both DreamWorks Animation and Graham King Productions. He is also a Film Instructor at the UCLA Writer’s Program. His other credentials include several years as a Professor at the University of Wisconsin in Sociology and Criminology with a PhD from Rutgers in Sociology and an MFA from UCLA in Film Production.
Join us as we build an exciting bridge between the publishing and Hollywood communities!
Check back with this blog frequently as I update you on future speakers, publishing news and important announcements from some of our writers !!!
Writer's News Weekly
July 8, 2010
Exciting news from Writer's News Weekly. Click Here to see my poem "My Inner Companion".
Poem Published at The War Poetry Website
June 30, 2010
My poem, "Quagmires of the past", has been published on the War Poetry Website. Click here to read it.
New Article at SelfGrowth.com
June 25, 2010
New Article in WE Magazine
June 24, 2010
"Creating A Joy-Filled Life: The Hidden Secrets". Click here to read it.
June 24, 2010
I'm very excited that my treatise entitled "Hiding In Plain Sight: The Psyche of Serial Killers" has been published in Crime Magazine. I have been interested in psychopathology for many years, and in particular Serial Killers, so this has been an important achievement for me. Hope you all enjoy this fascinating essay on a difficult topic for most people to contemplate.. Click here to read it.
June 22, 2010
I am pleased to announce a new partnership with SelfGrowth.com, the most complete guide to information about Self -Improvement, Personal Growth and Self Help on the Internet. It is designed to be an organized directory, with articles and references to thousands of other Web Sites on the World Wide Web. I am listed on the Experts Page.
June 15, 2010
I am happy to announce that my poem "In Our Midst" has been posted on www.screwiowa.com. Also you can read my review written for the New York Journal of Books of Nina Roman's poetry book "Coffeehouse Meditations" (under the review section of my website). I highly recommend her artful and engaging book of poetry, written while she is sitting in various coffee shops....observing the world around her.
Poetry Contest Winner
June 6, 2010
The winner has been chosen for the poetry contest and I have notified the winner who is Carolyn Ziel for her poem "Anywhere but Here". You may see her winning poem here. All of the poems were compelling in their own way and each had a unique style. Thanks for participating and stay tuned for the next one around September. You can find further details during the summer on my blog. There will be a small entry fee for the new one but a cash prize will be given to the winner of that contest.
New Book Reviews
May 22, 2010
I am now writing book reviews for the New York Journal of Books. For all you writers or aspiring writers,check out the review entitled "The Courage To Write: How Writers Transcend Fear". This is a book not to be missed ! To read the review, simply click on top tab on my home page called "Writing"; pull down menu to Reviews, than click on Book Reviews. Check back to read new reviews.
Will be sponsoring a new writing contest in September. Check back for details coming soon.
May 3, 2010
I have had tremendous guides on my journey for a long time that have blessed me tremendously through my endeavors of becoming a poet, writer and life coach. I know how frustrating and difficult it can be to find venues to publish one's poetry and other writing when first starting out. I sent my poetry out for over a year before someone recognized and rewarded my poetic voice. I wanted to provide an opportunity for others who are starting on the writer's path as well.
So I welcome poetry that shows some insight into the human condition as part of a contest to last until June 5, 2010 or until I get enough quality poetry for that "right" one to be judged as the winner. I ask nothing of you, especially your rights to your poem which I would never do (I know how it felt when someone asked me to surrender my rights to my poems). I simply want to provide a space for the winner on my website so that the person can have that great feeling of recognition that I have been able to have. In other words I think writers should help each other, don't you? All you have to do is submit your work to Laura@LauraSchultzNow.com and a short bio (1-2 lines) and I will announce the winner in a month as well as publish it on my site. Unfortunately at this time I am unable to pay for your work, but at least you can have the satisfaction of having it on the web to use as a springboard for what I hope to be a rewarding career in writing poetry. Thanks and good luck.
A Poet's Journey
April 17, 2010
My personal story is one that is being written so that others may have hope in their struggle to triumph over what may appear to be overwhelming odds. We all have hopes, fears, and dreams, and though we may fall short of our own expectations many times along the way, each fork along the path presents a new possibility of greatness.
I grew up in California in a culturally and ethnically diverse agricultural community near the Mexican border. My father was a farmer turned politician. It was from him that I learned about honoring the land coupled with a concomitant social conscience. My mother was both a painter and a sculptor and through her influence, I was drawn to the arts at an early age. She was also a self-taught gourmet cook and entered and won both local and international cooking contests. She believed that cooking was a form of therapy, and she did it with gusto, flair and true artistry. She told me on more than one occasion that, “We show our love for people in the beauty we create for them both on canvass and in the culinary delights we serve them.” I never forgot her words nor her inspiration and it was in creative pursuits that I found solace throughout the many twists and turns along the path.
Although my teachers encouraged my artistic interests, especially my writing, I lacked the self-confidence to pursue my dream, until as if over night my world was plunged into turmoil and despair. In the course of a series of dramatic, life-changing events, I began a healing journey through the exploration of the world of spirituality, a journey that transformed me and gave me a new and hopeful perspective on the human condition. I began asking the tough questions of who we are as individuals, how we relate to our culture, the world at large, and more importantly where we as human beings are going. I came to see the modern world falling under the shadow of alienation. I felt that we had lost our connections to both the natural world and the diversity of human culture. Fear and anxiety had replaced hope and compassion. Like a lost child huddling silently in the corner while clutching a stuffed toy, I believe we have chosen safety to the detriment of dialogue, possessions at the expense of relationships, and fear at the cost of hope. We have succumbed to Thoreau’s life of quiet desperation and the human community is threatening to vanish.
Such thoughts and ideas buzzed through my consciousness like voracious hornets, but in my innocence and inexperience I could discover no meaningful resolution. Yet somehow I was convinced that a solution existed. I went on to UCLA determined to find it. However, my philosophical search was complicated by a traumatic personal experience. I was diagnosed with a terminal blood disorder and given about a year to live. I suddenly felt alienated and forgotten, the victim of a capricious universe and a society that was suddenly cold. I was now the lost child huddling in the corner. It was then that I realized that fear is our only enemy and if we give into it, we are lost. Fear obscures our vision and alienates us from our lives.
It fragments our being and pits our thoughts against each other. So I fought my fears and the ensuing battles, and despite medical predictions, I survived the year and many since. It was a harrowing journey during which I underwent several near death experiences. But I survived and never forgot the tenuous nature of our lives. It was during this time, when I felt isolated and alone that I always remembered the “therapy of creating” that my mother had referred to, and I learned to process feelings through creative writing and journaling. Through the process of becoming whole again, I realized that the same transformation was the key to our social malaise. I felt that the crisis of modernity is the result of social fragmentation and to our loss of human connection so I began to prepare the path to come out of isolation and become a real part of my community, making meaningful connections to others in a very conscious way.
In conjunction with this realization, I felt a growing needed to be of service to others and my community. I became involved in social action, working in a variety of programs to facilitate positive outcomes for people with disabilities and others who feel disenfranchised. My greatest success seemed to be in helping to heal personal relationships so I became a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Certified Diplomate by the American Psychotherapy Association. I have been assisting individuals and families in crisis for 25 years both in private practice as a clinician and in the nonprofit arena with expertise in the field of disability, chemical dependency, and childhood trauma. At the same time I began writing again. I worked on a number of projects including a self-help book but none seemed to satisfy or adequately convey those feelings and perceptions that I first nurtured in my youth and which were coming back to me with renewed energy. Throughout this time, I heard the call of the voice of the poet within that became too powerful to ignore.
Since that time of awakening, I have been driven to write poetry of the heart that illuminates the struggles of life and how we may triumph in the end. I am convinced that the growing fusion of my personal experiences and my professional knowledge is paving a path to further pursue my call to write. My resume does not tell the whole story, but because of my path, I feel passionate about sharing my voice with others to both inspire and to empower, through my poetry. My goal is to speak for many of what I consider to be the lost voices of the disenfranchised among us. I ascribe my poetic voice to the feelings expressed in the quote by Anne Sexton “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”
I thought of my mother and her wisdom throughout my life, especially since I have been writing, and what an influence she was in my desire to create. She was very proud of me though she was not demonstrative in expressing it. Her approval was always so important to me, and I felt in many ways that I had let her down. I remember the nervous anticipation that occurred within me the first time I served my mom a recipe that she had created. I don’t know if the meal itself lived up to her expectations, because she would never have let me know if it hadn’t. But I knew I had pleased her when she walked in and saw the beautifully decorated table with flowers and designs in her favorite colors and she gave me that approving smile that let me know I had learned her teachings well. Unfortunately our time of sharing these pleasant times were short-lived when she was diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease. For the last few years she has not recognized me, and when I leave her I am filled with sadness both for her plight and the years we will miss together. But her creative spirit lives on within me, and when I think of all she gave to us with her incomparable flair, I am also filled with joy. And I finally know that she is proud of me and the way I have chosen to transform my life through poetry, even though she cannot say it.