Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kardashian, Miss Piggy, Justin Bieber

Gotcha! I'm doing a little experiment: listing names that a lot of people are apparently searching online to see how many will stumble upon my blog. If you just stumbled on my blog and have the time and inclination to scroll down to see beautiful photos of the Rocky Mtns, read reviews of good books and some blog posts that have nothing to do with celebrities, please post a comment and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Lost Art of Reading by David Ulin

I highly recommend this little book, a long very entertaining and enlightening essay. If you read it, let me know when you come across the story about the author signed blank book that someone bought for a thousand dollars and we can share some ironic laughter. Meantime, a second edition of my first novel, The Nun published by Plain View Press twenty years ago will be coming out soon ( roughly the same time as the first edition of my last novel The Secret of A Long Journey ( ). .  . that makes for an interesting full circle.  Somebody scream.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Prosperity v. Posterity

So I've said that wessex collective ( ) is more interested in posterity than prosperity and that is why we'll discount books substantially and donate books to causes we support to get the books in the hands of serious readers who might otherwise miss them. We know our audience is a small one, people who actually WANT to be challenged (I once had a mss. rejected because it was too "challenging" and a story criticised because it "used characters to make a point" imagine that!) . . . but we want to get the work we considered important enough to devote our time and energy to creating, publishing and promoting out to readers who will appreciate it because we understand how important the great books we read were to us. So, all that by way of introducing some remarks about POSTERITY I recently rec'd in an email from my friend and favorite writer, Ita Willen.  She said:
"listen our deafening silence problems are not new. I've been reading a lot of biographies. CHOPIN had a hard time getting anyone to listen, as a performer he seemed weak with his barely audible music, selling sheet music was hard too, waltzes were in vogue, he survived by giving piano lessons. GEORGE SAND her soap opera novels found favor but she ruined Chopin's life and destroyed her kids lives too. LORD BYRON independently wealthy, got attention for his work through his scandalous behavior, a total degenerate. SHELLY Independently wealthy, his work was not recognized until after his death. . .  Abandoned a young pregnant wife and two small children to run off with Mary. The wife committed suicide by drowning. RIMBAUD'S entire fame rest on 500 copies self published, couldn't afford to pay the printer and the stash wasn't even found til 50 years later, long after he died. And we all know about poor VAN GOGH who couldn't sell a painting to save his life.  So the loud silence doesn't bother me a bit. I once saw a cartoon in The New Yorker: two men at a cocktail party. Says one: "Why should I do anything for posterity? What has posterity ever done for me?" That is when I completely gave up trying to create anything for the unborn. And yet it occurs to me now that posterity HAS done something for me. It's given me Chopin, Sand, Byron, Shelley and Van Gogh."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

11-9-11 at Brainard Lake area

Lucky Shot
By Sarah Leamy
Published byStrategic Book Group
ISBN # 978-1-61204-684-6

After reviewing Sarah Leamy’s book When No One is Looking for bookpleasures last spring I was very eager to read her new book,
Lucky Shot, a Novel of Sex, Death and Photography.  I was not disappointed. It is said that a picture is a worth a thousand words and in this novel, the protagonist is a photographer (click). Leamy’s prose is lean, almost stacatto at times, and creates a series of pictures in the mind’s eye of readers. What another writer might need thousands of words to describe, she can describe vividly in far fewer words. Reading her fiction is like viewing a film, you hear the voices, see the facial expressions and body language and feel each character. The style swings along in an easy, engaging rythym, and as a reader I feel like I’m dancing along with the characters to my favorite music.

An important theme in this novel is the right of patients to make end of life decisions and of course the importance of making sure there is someone to implement the patient’s desires if and when the patient can no longer express those desires. The author handles this situation in a loving but matter of fact tone, that does not seek to overdramatize (because she knows that is not necessary) this most serious and inevitable part of life: its end.

Just like Joey in When No One is Looking, Lucky Phillips in Lucky Shot has difficult childhood memories to deal with in order to live joyfully, and just like Joey, Lucky manages to do exactly that.These characters emerge from difficult journeys triumphant and ready to face the next phase of their lives and the reader emerges feeling privileged to have been invited along on the journey and eager to continue the next phase of it.  Not surprisingly, I am really looking forward to reading the sequel to this book, Lucky Find, Looking for Family in Far Off Places,  wherein Lucky will search for the sister he didn’t even know he had. Lucky Find is due out in 2012 and you can read more about it and author Sarah Leamy at:

I think perhaps the author creates her characters as a lens to learn about life herself. In any case, the reader is enlightened as well as entertained by these insightful shots of people showing vulnerability, fear, love, generosity and joy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Healing Muse

Check out latest blog @:  and find out how to purchase the latest issue of this really admirable literary journal.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review of Lessons From the Mountain by Mary McDonough

Lessons From The Mountain: What I Learned From Erin Walton
By Mary McDonough
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN 978-0-7582-6366-7

The memoir begins with the voice of a woman of strength and wisdom and maintains that tone throughout. After she gives credit where credit is due (parents and siblings) the author flashes back and tracks forward to tell us about the long hard journey she took to ultimately acquire that strength and wisdom. Included among the positive influences that helped her get through the difficulties of being a child star were members of her television Walton family as well as her own real family.

For some reason during childhood she suffered from an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy and any slight pounded her esteem  deeper into the ground. She recounts the story of an obsessive compulsive second grade teacher at her Catholic school and the reader has to wonder what such a person was doing teaching seven year old children. Later she refers back to some inappropriate sexual touching that she endured as a child from neighbors and was too afraid to speak up. Throughout her childhood, adolescence and early adulthood she was afraid to speak up whether the complaint was relatively trivial (sitting in a hot car in winter clothes to shoot a “winter” scene on a hot day) or serious (an actual assault on a movie set during her post Walton career). But, when she finally realized she had to speak up not only to protect herself from serious health risks  but to warn other women who might be persuaded to take serious health risks, she came out with the fierceness and determination that long repressed feelings can engender.

The book includes photos of this beautiful girl who grew into a beautiful woman and one photo in particular is both striking and heartrending: a photo of a lean, fit and lovely teen age girl on one page and on the facing page the drawing she made of herself at that time. She called the drawing “hog body” and apparently thought of her body in that derogatory way.  There had to be some sad and heavy psychology at work to make her think of herself that way when she viewed that lovely girl in the mirror. The fact that she later got silicone breast implants is therefore not surprising. After the implants, she developed Lupus and, against the advice of Doctors who should have known better, decided to have the implants removed thereby finding out that they had ruptured and sent silicone leaking into her body as well as the fetus she was carrying. When she later took on Dow Corning she was doing it for herself, her daughter and all the women who might make different decisions regarding breast implants given accurate information. The malleable, shy child actor has developed into a film director and producer herself as well as an activist and a teacher who gives workshops to help young women develop a positive self image. She makes it clear throughout the book that she was always grateful for what she was given (the good fortune of being chosen to be part of the Waltons family and develop lifelong friendships with many fine people) and that she felt a responsibility to give back. She has given back a great deal and this book is a gift to women everywhere in all walks of life and all ages. There are a myriad of wise life lessons in this book. I learned some important lessons reading it. Thankyou Mary McDonough!

Review of Ruth by Marlene S. Lewis (in the UK)

By Marlene S. Lewis
Troubador Publishing Ltd.
ISBN 978-1-84876-623-5

At 327 pages Ruth would be too long were it merely a love story with an interesting twist. However, this story of a young woman from her first sexual awakening to a new beginning in middle age is also the story of colonial racism in Australia in the fifties and the consequences of this racism that are passed on from one generation to the next. In addition to this major theme there are sub themes of classicism and sexism that come up in the stories of subsidiary characters Ruth encounters on her journey. 

I’ve been known to say that while non-fiction makes us aware of social problems, fiction has more power to make us care about social problems. I should amend that to say that it is the stories of individuals more than statistics that create empathy and a passion to change what is wrong in our societies. So whether a story is fictional or real is not the issue here but whether it is compelling enough to inspire readers to want to do something about the injustices of racism, classicism, sexism as we recognize them around us in addition to helping us recognize them in the first place.

In Ruth, Marlene S. Lewis tells a fictional story that feels absolutely real and as a reader I feel like I could hear the voices of Ruth, Lindsay, Tommy, Joyce, Aggie, Stephanie, Ali, Lachlan, Josh and others as if I’d known them. The author has mastered the craft of creating  characters with the particular idiosyncracies that make them believable individuals, each and every one. She makes us know them, care about them, hear and respond to what they have to say. There is the usual disclaimer at the beginning that the book is a work of fiction and any resemblance of the characters to real people is purely coincidental. I would add that such resemblance is due to the author’s gifts of observation and insight. The style is matter of fact. Because the facts themselves are dramatic the author has no need to overdramatize events, she simply tells them and we are moved, sometimes shocked, at the simple recitation of the realistically imagined facts.

Because the book depicts so many realistic instances of important universal social issues, Ruth is a book I highly recommend to bookclubs who are looking for spirited discussion of the social dynamics that affect us all, everywhere at some time and all the time somewhere.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hi Cara

If you love these beautful mtns check out this site:

Cara is another Colorado author I had the pleasure of meeting at the Aurora Public Library "Meet the Authors" event yesterday.  Oh that photo with the headstone: there are historic cemeteries above Central City that were absolutely glorious with fall colors and from there it is possible to 4 wheel all the way to James Peak. Interesting area up there. Enjoy this beautiful day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Last Beautiful days of Autumn

We are actually expecting snow soon in the high country. Meantime, finished my fall foliage foto frenzy today in a cemetery (fitting).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More pictures worth a thousand words


Donations to help victims of domestic violence  is my page on a site called Writers Out. I could not have created the page without the gracious assistance of Inbal Gould.  My novel Stillbird, which is a myth-like treatment of a multi-generational cycle of violence against women is no longer available as a trade paperback book but it can be downloaded from my writersout page for $5. For every 10 downloads of Stillbird I intend to donate $25 to a local shelter that offers shelter and other kinds of assistance to battered women and also has space for them to bring their pets (many women are afraid to leave an abusive situation if it means leaving a beloved family pet behind to face abuse). They are called A Rising Hope. I just recently learned about them from one of my daughters who received an email about an upcoming fundraiser.

Friday, August 26, 2011

And another wonderful woman author: Marisel Vera

I recently wrote and wanted to share this review of Marisel's book If I Bring You Roses published by Grand Central Publishing  ISBN 978-0-446-57153-1

If I Bring You Roses is more than a love story powerfully and insightfully told. It is also a story about how class and ethnic discrimination impact relationships between men and women.  The message is important; the writing is masterful. The entire novel is written in third person narrative but the narrative voice changes with the perspective of the completely believable and engaging characters.  In Part One, the author uses exquisitely poetic and rythmnic language to tell the story of a simple Puerto Rican country girl, Felicidad Hidalgo and leads the reader into the growing girl’s pure and loving heart so we not only observe but experience the anxieties, and the yearnings in her life.  In the next part she tells the story from the perspective of the more psychologically complex Anibal Acevedo, a young Puerto Rican man who has come to the U.S mainland with big dreams only to be disappointed, exploited and disrespected in the workplace. The author then moves into an authentic male voice that allows the reader to understand the conflicts in the heart and mind of a man who uses sexual conquest to assuage the pain he feels over his inability to become the man he dreamed of being. Subsidiary characters are rendered with the same authenticity and detail as the two primary characters so every interaction rings true.  Using vivid descriptions of places and events and very real dialogue, the author immerses the reader in the Puerto Rican culture both on the island and in the Chicago neighborhood where Felicidad moves to be with Anibal. We see these two within the contexts of their families and communities and we see how these families and communities sometimes guide, sometimes complicate and sometimes assist the two young people who must learn to navigate not only the cold, unfamiliar terrain of Chicago but the frighteningly unfamiliar terrain of a constantly changing future. In the end both of them are guided by their essentially good hearts into a future that the reader has hope will be a rewarding one.

I highly recommend this book to readers interested in  romance grounded in reality, in Latina culture, in civil and human rights for all people regardless of gender, race or ethnicity and to readers who are just interested in reading a really good, engrossing book. I also think it would make an excellent addition to reading lists for college classes in Womens’ Studies, Latina studies and classes in Latin American literature.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I love this piece by Gloria DeVidas Kirchheimer, a writer who lives on the upper west side of NYC who discovered our Wessex table at the Small Press Book Fair in NY one December a few years ago (in fact I shared a table  there with Linda LeBlanc). Gloria submitted the first couple of chapters of Amalie in Orbit and I was impatient to receive the rest of this wonderfully witty novel about a 40something newly widowed woman entering the workforce and reshaping her life. Anyway, here is Gloria talking about her process: why and how she writes her wonderful stories:

When I’m not writing I feel half alive. I go through every-day motions like a zombie. Something is missing.

Nothing equals the excitement of plunging into a story and not knowing where it’s going. I write in order to find out what’s happening, what the story all about. It’s a process of discovery.

There’s fear as well as exhilaration. Will I be able to solve the problems?  Will I measure up? I’m my own judge. Not yet my own dispassionate critic. That comes later. What is this fear? Performance anxiety? But no one is looking over my shoulder except me. Each time I begin a new story it’s as though I’ve never written anything before. My confidence is zero.

Writing has to be fun. And in order to have fun you have to squelch the fear and jump in, take risks joyfully. You can always revise the piece later—you must revise. Knowing that, you have the freedom to make mistakes,  to digress all you want. Later is the time for cleaning up.

How to start? My work is almost always based on real people. I may know them well or maybe I just spotted them on the street and something struck me in passing. A little spark goes off in my head, the spark of possibility. The notion of “what if . . .?” Taking what I see and know and moving  into an imagined—but plausible-- situation.

Sometimes, before I’ve actually begun to write, a line will pop into my head. My first impulse is to reject it. No, this is crazy, what a wild notion. But that’s how I wrote my story, “Goodbye, Evil Eye” (in Goodbye, Evil Eye: Short Stories). The line was:  “It is not common knowledge that a woman sailed with Christopher Columbus.”  And that was the start button for me. Don’t ask me where that line came from. If we’re lucky and receptive, these charmed moments come to us.

You never know what is going to show up in your story. Before you realize it, you’ve written a scene based on an event that occurred ten years ago in the workplace, a scene you haven’t thought about consciously. Who would have imagined that my job in a nonprofit organization would have yielded so much fodder for a story, “First, Do No Harm” (Antioch Review, Fall 2010).
Writers are ruthless and I’m no exception. I have little compunction about using my parents, sibling, husband, and children in my fiction even though sometimes I feel guilty. The parents are dead, the spouse supremely understanding, the children—there I have tread lightly. And with friends, you hope they either won’t recognize themselves or better yet, won’t read your work. I once wrote a story about my mother (“Food of Love,” in Goodbye, Evil Eye: Short Stories.)  It was first published in an obscure California literary magazine called Shmate, literally, “rag” in Yiddish. Who could have imagined that a distant cousin living there, a continent away, would find the magazine, read it and call my mother to say she read a story in it that was all about her. My mother called me to ask about it saying she wanted to read it. Uh oh!  It’s true that it was fiction but very thinly disguised. There was my mom with all her quirks and exasperating behavior, the friction between us in print for all to see. I told her I didn’t think she would be interested. A feeble excuse. I was truly terrified. I gave her the magazine and agonized for a couple of days. She would be so hurt, so angry at me that she would disown me, her own daughter. How could I do such a thing to her, etc. etc. Her reaction? Sheer delight. “It’s all about me,” she said happily. Then she suggested that I write her biography. But that’s a whole other story.
Nothing equals the joy of being in the middle of writing fiction—nothing, except maybe a swim in the ocean. I want to immerse myself, play, splash around. That’s how I’ll find out what I’m doing.

So, why do you write? and how do you approach your characters and create their stories?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

And speaking of Colorado Women Authors

I am privileged to know several of our state's finest. I'm listing their names and links below. Meanwhile ladies your websites are far superior to what I've put together here so I am simply going to introduce you to each other and to any readers who might stumble into my quirky little corner of cyberspace and I invite you to use the comment section below to say more about yourselves and your work. For my part, I admire all of you!

PAT BERTRAM: I have not actually met Pat in person but we've corresponded since I reviewed her book Light Bringer for and at my request she and I exchanged books. As much as I enjoyed Light Bringer,   I liked  Daughter Am I   even more (what's not to love about a young woman driving a car full of geriatric mobsters in search of information about the grandparents she never knew?). Her quirky mountain characters also share some of my own political views so that was cool. Check out Pat's site @

MARGARET GUTHRIE: I had the pleasure of meeting Margaret in Estes Park a few years ago when the library bookclub invited me to come discuss my book Stillbird. She asked me to look at her mss. & I was much impressed with a beautifully written book about forgiveness, a subject that very much interests me. I recommended it to my partner in this business of publishing independence, Peter agreed and we published The Return shortly thereafter. Now I'm excited to report that a literary agency in Prague is interested in it.  You can read about her and The Return on our site:

LINDA LeBLANC: After reviewing Beyond the Summit for the Boulder Daily Camera I was curious to meet the author, find out how she came to write so well about climbing Everest. Had she done it? Turns out Linda was a guide to groups going as far as base camp and established a series of huts along the way. She took an interest in the lives of the Sherpas who earned their scant livings doing very tough work and her book delves into the culture, and the changes caused by tourism with insight and sensitivity. Check out her sites: 
and about a new work in progress:

MARY SARACINO: I met Mary when we were both invited to participate in the Englewood Library "Meet the Author" event (which Linda told me about).  I was there with Three Novellas and Mary was there with her exquisite novel, The Singing of Swans. I don't think I sold any books but the event was worthwhile because of this rewarding friendship. Check out these links: , ,,

JACKIE ST. JOAN: I first met Jackie St. Joan when I represented Russell Means in her courtroom after the first of several Columbus Day protests. We were delighted to get a good judge! St. Joan is not only a good judge but a dedicated advocate for women's rights and a leader in the movement to help victims of domestic violence. Her novel My Sisters Made of Light is a poetically written novel about honor crimes against women in Pakistan and when you buy this book you do two things: get yourself a good book and contribute to a good cause as she donates 50% of all proceeds to an organization building a shelter for women and children in Pakistan. Check out these links:  and
&U can find my review of Sisters on  (scroll down a LOT).

ITA WILLEN:  last but by no means least,  I met Ita in the 9th grade where I gravitated toward the new student with a violin case in one hand and a pile of books in the crook of her arm. Ita was the person who inspired me to start writing in the first place although I knew I'd never be as good as she was and is. Years later, she was the inspiration for me to suggest starting The Wessex Collective to Peter Burnham back in 2005.  Although her first book, The Grubbag was published by Random House in 1972, she didn't follow the path her editor wished to dictate and was later turned down when she offered her memoir The Gift for publication. Yes I wanted to publish my novel Stillbird and Peter wanted to publish his novel Envious Shadows both of which were scheduled for publication in Mumbai (in both English and Marathi) before Pushpa Prakashan, Ltd. went under, but he also wanted to publish the works of his mentor Wm. Davey (deceased in 1999) and I wanted to publish the works of  my role model, Ita Willen and without the inspiration of these two fine authors we would not have gone to all the trouble of starting and maintaining the collective. She continues to be a role model to me in all aspects of life today. Ita is also on our wessex site.  Look for her collection of short stories, Triple Vision, later this year.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

And speaking of . . .

Speaking of Paul Johnson, he was the writer who introduced me to the work of
Sonora Babb. Sonora Babb wrote a fine novel, Whose Names Are Unknown, about migrant farm workers during the depression. In fact she worked for the Farm Security Administration and had first hand knowledge of the plight of her characters. She wrote the novel in the 1930s but Random House who paid her to come to NY to finish it for them decided against publishing it after the huge success of John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath . .  they didn't want to "flood the market" with the two books on the same theme. It should be noted that Ms. Babb had shared her notes with Mr. Steinbeck when he came out to California as a reporter.  Whose Names Are Unknown was finally published by University of Oklahoma Press in 2003 (so she just had to wait sixty some years). She did publish other work but considered this one her best. She died in 2006 at the age of 98 after seeing what she considered her best book finally  published. I reviewed Names for the Boulder Daily Camera and the book editor at the time planned to write an article about the author (who grew up in Eastern Colorado) but he left before this plan materialized and the new book editor didn't see fit to run the review of Ms. Babb's extraordinary book. I recommend it whenever and wherever I can. If you liked Tillie Olson's Yonnondio you will certainly like Whose Names Are Unknown.

Train of Thought that begins with Cancer, works through disappointment and ends with the memory of a priceless reward

We got the news that a cousin and dear friend was going to have surgery for colon cancer. Then we got the news that the colon tumor was removed but they found spots on the liver and chemo would be necessary. When I went to the PO the next day, worried about our cousin, I found one of those glossy brochures that usually advertise something I don't need or can't afford and end up in the PO recycling bin but this time my eye caught the word "cancer" in the upper left hand corner and I figured a donation to cancer research would be a way to garner some good karma for our cousin. When I opened the brochure I came face to face with the man who was my oncologist back in the mid nineties and a friend of my Dad's. He had died at the age of 92 and the brochure was a tribute to his life.  Although I knew he worked with the a cancer research center I didn't realize he had founded it. I wrote my check in his memory to the research center with a little prayer asking my old Doc to inspire my cousin's doctors with all the knowledge they'd need to save our cousin's life as he had saved mine all those years ago.

Thinking about cancer reminded me of one of the priceless rewards of starting and working with The Wessex Collective.  Shortly after Peter Burnham and I had decided to get this indie publishing endeavor going we heard from poet Laurel Speer, a friend of Peter's, asking if we'd take a look at a mss. by another friend, Paul Johnson.  Paul  was dying of an aggressive cancer detected too late and wanted to see his last novel published before he died. I was really relieved that The Marble Orchard was a really good book, a book we'd've been proud to publish regardless of the author's circumstances.  We worked hard to get Marble Orchard out in time for Paul to hold it in his hand.  We were pleased that he was pleased and I had the memorable pleasure of visiting Paul and his wonderful wife Fran in Las Vegas, NM. You have to admire a man who faces imminent death with such courage and humor. . . . and creative determination.  Paul was so pleased to see Marble Orchard out there he decided to add one more novel to the opus he'd leave behind.  City of Kings is a suspense novel but also a love song to his wife. Paul lived about a year longer than anyone including his doctors expected while he finished City of Kings and after he was satisfied with the editing he informed his Doctor he was ready to go, stop the treatments and about a week later he passed on content with what he'd accomplished.

I have often felt discouraged about my failure to garner sufficient recognition for the extremely worthy authors we've been privileged to publish and after such high hopes for this endeavor I have often felt I've let them down. But then I remember that Paul bravely faced painful chemo treatments (so painful it hurt his fingers to type) to finish one last book, a labor of love for his wife and he could do this with the faith that the book would be published by Wessex.   The contribution Peter and I made to this last effort is a source of satisfaction and I am thinking I should have some faith also and not give up yet. Even as I write this a copy of City of Kings along with Night Voices by Helen Hudson, Envious Shadows by Peter Burnham, The Return by Margaret Guthrie and Little Bluestem by Brian Backstrand has been delivered to the A.R.T Dialog Literary Agency in Prague and we look forward to seeing these works translated and made available to readers in the Czech Republic.

As I've mentioned in earlier blogs, proceeds from the sales of our ebooks availble at:  will be donated to various causes. You can guess where proceeds from sales of City of Kings and/or The Marble Orchard will be sent.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

and more cool sites now I know how to do this

Please check out Komal Mansoor's excellent review of Ita Willen's book The Gift on her blog @:

and if you'd like to watch a cool documentary film go to: 
and look for the film titled SPRAYMASTERS

Manny Kirchheimer who made this doc about grafitti artists is married to Wessex Collective author Gloria DeVida Kircheimer (Amalie in Orbit). What a talented couple!

almost forgot

Visit our site to read about our 18 titles by 11 authors. And soon we'll be adding three more books to that list.  

ANOTHER GREAT BLOG from Wessex Author Bob Sommer

and here is another blog site from wessex author Bob Sommer, he is really good at this and writes some great stuff:

When readers download Where the Wind Blew from our digital content site, donations will be made to the Francis D. Sommer Memorial Fund for Homeless Veterans.  So again, for $5 you can accomplish two important things: read a good book and contribute to a good cause.  Download one of my books and the donations will go to animal rescue workers to help with gas for transport, food and vet care. Each of our authors can specify where they want proceeds from their ebook sales to go, and that could change from time to time but bottom line, we are trying to fix our broken world bit by bit which is perhaps all any of us can do.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Hello again,
It is raining, coming down really hard so not taking the hike I planned and I'm back. I just checked my email and got the new blog from Healing Muse. This is a GREAT blog. I really like this literary journal of work by nurses and doctors, healers. I really like the concept of writing out of that kind of experience. I feel honored to have been included on the blog last month and to have had a story published in the print journal a few years back. Check it out:

While I am talking about links to other great sites I had a couple others I wanted to point out but first wanted to write about two of our Wessex authors: Pete Burnham and Helen Hudson. Both have written about very vulnerable characters in the hopes of making readers more aware of the people among us who are lonely, oppressed, hungry even homeless in the hopes that awareness leads to empathy and compassion. This is why I love their fiction. I've said before and really feel it is true: non-fiction can make us aware of the problems in our world, but fiction makes us really CARE about the problems in our world.   It is not so coincidental that each of these accomplished writers has made time in their busy lives to volunteer at soup kitchens. Helen interviewed clients where she worked and put together a book called Dinner at Six: Voice from the Soup Kitchen and when you order copies all the sale proceeds are contributed to organizations that help the homeless. Peter has dedicated countless hours over the past thirty years to another labor of love: publishing a much admired annual literary journal:  The Long Story, check out the TLS link:

Now I'd like to ask that you check out our page at a site that sells ebooks in various formats. Pete surfed that wave of the future that threatened to drown the rest of us and converted all our wessex books to three different kinds of ebooks. They can be found at:

and here is the best part: unlike print copies we don't have to pay for more and more digital copies so we can afford to donate most of the sale proceeds from those downloads ($5/per book) to worthy causes after we've covered our web rent and the paypal commission. When you purchase ebook versions of Night Voices by Helen Hudson, Envious Shadows, The Many Change and Pass, On A Darkling Plain and/or Robin Redbreast in a Cage you will be buying a good book and contributing to soup kitchens and shelters that  aid the homeless. Other causes which we will contribute to when you purchase other titles by other authors (which I'll write about another day) include an organization that specifically helps Homeless Veterans and some animal rescue organizations.

Thanks for stopping by, let me know about other links I should be including in these posts.

Welcome Mary

Welcome to our first member and a wonderful friend, Mary Saracino, author of some fine books. check out her blog at:  and enjoy some really fine poetry. Come back and chat! Sandy

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wessex Authors

Please check back from time to time as each week or every few days I will post a blog about one of our authors, all interesting people, talented writers and maybe I'll even quote a few lines of their poetry or prose. And I might copy and paste some reviews hereon. thanks for stopping by.


Peter Burnham and I started the Wessex Collective back in 2005 with a mission. That mission was to publish work that perhaps could be called "socially responsible" insofar as we wanted to publish work that inspired and encouraged empathy for individuals who were not always recognized and respected in mainstream society, to draw attention to social problems and create the inspiration in readers to want to make our world a better place.  We've since been honored to publish wonderful books by very talented and distinquished authors and the mission has expanded to include gaining recognition for authors who deserve it because they have applied their considerable language skills to convey important messages. Some of these authors were once "critically acclaimed" as the saying goes in such publications as The New York Times, The New Yorker magazine and even Time magazine. That was a while back. Now I'm not finding readers who have heard the names Helen Hudson or Jack Wheatcroft for example but I did recently get a thank you from a reader who was able to find Helen's first novel at a branch library and thanked me for introducing her to such a fine writer. We published Helen's last novel, Night Voices and you can purchase a real copy by emailing me or you can download it as an ebook
but I ALSO recommend ALL of Helen's books published years ago by Putnam or Dutton and now only available on used book sites. Check them out:  Tell The Time to None, Criminal Trespass, Temporary Residence, Farnsbee South, The Listener, Meyer, Meyer.  She deserved every word of praise she got thirty, forty years ago and she deserves continued recognition of her fine opus.

Jack's list of published poetry, fiction and dramas is too long for this post. Google him under John Wheatcroft  and watch the video we made of an interview with Jack and his lovely wife Kathryn at their home in PA:

In their eighties, these authors continue to write beautifully crafted and deeply meaningful work.  And, if you are interested,  find out more about the rest of us at: We are a "one for all and all for one" group of people trying to preserve and distribute literature we cherish. And if you have the time and inclination, post a comment here and let us know what you think.

Jack Wheatcroft

Meet one of our Wessex Collective authors, Jack Wheatcroft, poet, novelist, dramatist, professor emeritus.