Tuesday, April 29, 2014

All About Ann/Governor Richards of the Lone Star State

I spend the early morning reading the news and watching whatever I have recorded on the dvr.  It's a good way for me to start the day - often gives me inspiration for my own work.

This morning I watched the new HBO film "All About Ann/Governor Richards of the Lone Star State."  Instead of continuing the editing process for the upcoming release of my novel, I feel compelled to write a post about this wonderful film and its incredible subject.

Let me say first, I met Ann Richards once and actually worked for her as a state employee during her term as governor.  Granted, we were many levels separate in the government hierarchy.  She didn't know me, but I knew her.  I also worked for her successors but that's another story and one you're not likely to hear about in this forum. 

I have been a liberal feminist my entire adult life, having heard all my childhood "oh you're just a girl."  (No I never burned my bra...in the best interest of the public.) My childhood heroes were Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt.  I loved super heroes and read the comic books.  My favorite? Wonder Woman...no surprise there.  There's a continuing pattern here...these are all women who breached barriers and stood firm for their beliefs in equality.  Amelia Earhart was a famous aviator(trix in those days) who disappeared trying to fly around the world years before I was born.  Eleanor Roosevelt championed the rights of people in the face of society's scorn and she never wavered.

Ann Richards burst on the Texas political scene in 1977 when she ran for and won the office of Texas State Treasurer.  She was the first woman to hold the office.  Under her leadership the treasurer's agency was modernized, re-vamped, and automated.  The State of Texas became a prosperous model for other states instead of one of the worst run in the country.

And then she ran for the office of Governor.  She made it through a contentious primary to emerge the Democratic candidate.  Her opponents were a former governor and the attorney general.  The campaign was vicious, with her male opponents battering her with their oratory. 

In the general election, she ran against a wealthy West Texas cattle rancher, the quintessential "good ole boy" aka a Bubba.  He was typical of many Texas governors elected to that point in time.  During the campaign he verbally shot himself in his own foot several times.  For example, he had a bunch of reporters and supporters out to his ranch.  One night around a campfire, he made a joke, basically saying if something was inevitable like rape, one should just "lie back and enjoy it."  As you might imagine that comment did not go over so well, particularly with the growing number of women voters.  But he still led all the polls.  And then there was the remark he made about his income taxes which he had not released to the public.  When asked about them he said his returns were complicated due to all his financial affairs, but then said except for the year he hadn't paid any taxes.  He said he wife would know what year that was.  He still led in many of the polls.

Ann Richards continued on point speaking of a Texas she envisioned where everybody had a place and a right to expect a good life no matter their race, gender, or age.  Of course she brought up her opponent's verbal slips, but she didn't dwell on them.  In the end she was elected Governor of Texas.  The only woman since Ma Ferguson to hold the office.  There's a great comment in the HBO documentary from Governor Richards about Ma Ferguson made on the Bill Maher show.

The HBO documentary is a remarkable look at one of the most memorable women of our time.  It chronicles her early life in the country outside Waco, Texas, where her father told her she could be anything she wanted to be.  The film moves with her throughout her life using archival footage and personal reminiscing from her friends and family.  It is at the same time, a moving tribute to this force of nature - amazing woman, and an unvarnished look at her life.  She was not perfect, but she owned up (as we'd say in Texas) to her faults and did her best to change.

I for one did not like her fondness for hunting, especially doves, but that did not tarnish her shining spirit to me.

She was a fighter, a woman who broke that blasted glass ceiling for the women in Texas government.
After she lost her bid for re-election, she picked herself up and got on with her life.

There is an interview in the HBO documentary, where one of her friends says being out with Ms. Richards in NYC was like accompanying a rock star.  She was frequently beset by fans, all wanting to talk to her.

I saw the same thing once in an Austin, TX bookstore.  Ms. Richards was the governor at that time.  She was shopping alone in a bookstore where she was all but mobbed by a woman who was gushing like the typical star-struck fan.  She told the Governor she had come to Texas from Alaska in hopes of meeting her.  She babbled at length while the Governor patiently listened to her.

Ms. Richards was not a tall woman.  The lady from Alaska was at least six feet tall and intimidating in her stance.  Miss Ann, as she was known in Texas, stood her ground and let the woman talk.  I edged to within a few feet of them, determined to help Miss Ann if she needed it.  She didn't.  At the end of the conversation she graciously thanked the woman and went on her way. I shook my head as I walked out of the store...of course she didn't need any help handling people.

Finally, the documentary shows Ann Richards as a fighter to the end.  She died of esophageal cancer, after a long bout of fighting the disease.

I realize some of you will not be fans of this lady and some of you may be too young to remember her.  That's okay with me.  Ann Richards fought to maintain the freedom for Texas and this country, giving everyone the right to their opinion and their voice.

She was a mighty personality in a small package, unhampered by her background, her thick Texas accent, or her beliefs in championing the underdog.

The HBO film gives a realistic look into this woman, with her flaws and her strengths. It made me laugh and made me cry so much I'll have to retouch my makeup. 

Ah well, Miss Ann is worth it.

Until next time...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Falling For Zoe by Skye Taylor

Skye Taylor, known for writing taut political intrigue in her initial novel, Whatever It Takes, has now released a contemporary romance novel.  Falling For Zoe is written with the same kind of character depth as her first published work.  It is a charming story without schmaltz.  Based in a small North Carolina seaside town known as Tide's Way.  The setting is filled with history, charming old houses, and long-standing oak trees.

Zoe, pregnant with her lover's child, buys an old house full of charm but needing repair.  Her lover has moved on, wanting nothing more to do with her or their baby.  On the day she moves in, she meets her next-door neighbor, Jake Cameron.  He lives with his twin girls, a teen-aged daughter, and his mother-in-law who has Alzheimer's.  He ex-wife deserted the family, including her own mother.  She has not seen her children since she left.  Jake's heart needs to mend as much as Zoe's.

There is an instant attraction between them.  But as in life the path to love is not smooth.  There are obstacles aplenty to the relationship, especially the hurt each one must overcome.

You will like these characters, recognize them from your own life experience. There is a tense climax and an epilogue filled with ironic humor and implications for the future.  Jake's extended family, the Cameron clan, will be the subject of subsequent novels about Tide's Way.

Falling For Zoe is a wonderful read, sweet, but not cloying like the sweet tea the characters drink. (Sorry, I'm a Texan who likes her tea straight up.)

You'll love getting to know these characters and will look forward to more about the Camerons.

If you like intelligent stories of contemporary romance, this one's for you.

Lovely job, Ms. Taylor!


Zoe Callahan, pregnant with the child her ex-boyfriend doesn’t want, adores her ramshackle new home in the seaside town of Tide’s Way, North Carolina. When she meets her handsome next-door neighbor, Jake Cameron, who offers some fixer-upper help, her heart goes out to him instantly. He’s a doting dad to three daughters and the kind caretaker to a mom-in-law with Alzheimer’s. Jake is equally smitten with Zoe, but he won’t risk turning his family upside down again after his ex-wife nearly destroyed it.

 As their friendship grows, Zoe discovers love hasn’t given up on her, even if the father of her unborn child did. Now she just needs to figure out why Jake is so determined not to let the heady attraction that sizzles between them turn into something more than just friends. Then one evening when their attraction threatens to boil over, Jake is convinced Zoe wants a fairytale he is not capable of giving her. He says some pretty stupid things to squash her expectations, and Zoe is crushed.

Before Jake has a chance to fix what he's nearly broken, disaster strikes, and Jake is Zoe’s reluctant rescuer. He already has her heart, but now, in spite of the rift that has come between them, she must trust him with her life and the life of her baby. Can Jake shake the demons in his own past and trust himself?

Links for purchase:


Barnes and Noble

For more information:

Author's Website

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Last Move by Liz Sinclair

Liz Sinclair, aka Elizabeth Sinclair known for her popular Hawks Mountain series, has written such a tense, vivid account of a cruel murdering arsonist that the reader can smell the smoke and feel the cinders.

In fact, this novel scared me so badly that I quit reading it late at night by the light of my Kindle Fire.  Remember I am a fan of the paranormal and a student of aberrant human behavior with a special interest in serial killers. So if it scared me....just sayin'.

Ms. Sinclair draws the reader into the world of a warped mind bent on destruction and revenge, making each move toward the intended climax like a skilled master of chess.

The Last Move is the story of Katie Sullivan, daughter of the late James Sullivan who was the Fire Chief and the first to die an excruciating death in the prologue.  Truth be told when I read the prologue, I had to put it down and find something light to read or I wasn't going to sleep that night.

Katie is obsessed with catching her father's murderer and engages the willing Chessman in a game of moves and counter moves.  Katie has also been involved in a relationship with Sheriff Drew Winters, a handsome Seminole.  (Sigh, Ms. Sinclair has given us a gorgeous hero...)

Though the relationship has cooled due to Katie's obsession, the sparks still fly and ignite at times, hotter than the fires they investigate.

The Last Move is a thrilling ride from beginning to end.  It could haunt your dreams.  Turn up the air conditioning!

Another wonderful job, Ms. Sinclair!


Murder is the goal. Fire is the weapon. 

Called the Chessman for the game pieces left behind in the wake of deadly fires, the arsonist is intent on making The Last Move. Arson Investigator Katie Sullivan is determined to find the serial arsonist who murdered her father, but the arsonist is playing a deadly game with her, and only the winner will live.

Sheriff Drew Winters is just as determined to keep Katie, the woman he loves, alive and, if need be, save her from herself and her blind, reckless quest to succeed. They were a couple before and could be one again.

Flames and death await them at every turn. Can they survive? Who will die and who will ultimately declare checkmate depends on Katie's skill as an arson investigator and Drew's abilities as a detective to outsmart the Chessman.

Links to purchase


Barnes & Noble

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Dove by Dinah McCall

Dinah McCall has released her sequel to her award-winning novel, Windwalker.  The sequel is called The Dove.  It's another beautiful story of ancient prophecies fulfilled.  This is the story of the Windwalker's daugter, Tihen, who, like her mother before her, has a monumental task to complete.  Like Layla Birdsong who became known as Singing Bird, Tihen is certainly up to the challenge.  Shattering sacrifices must be endured if she is to succeed.

Tihen is surrounded by those who love her and follow her willingly in her quest.  Her man, Yuma, who has loved her since she was a child is by her side.  Together they face unthinkable obstacles to find what they seek.

There is one scene with a buffalo herd so lovely in its implication that I cried reading it.

Ms. McCall has written another powerful story in The Prophecy Series.  The one, like the first, has memorable characters who face terrible obstacles in their determination to fulfill prophecy.

This magical story will keep you spellbound. If you like Native American stories of love and spirituality, grab this one.  It will grab you. (So will the gorgeous cover.)

If you've never read a story like this, but like solid love stories, grab this one. 


The Dove
Two young lovers

Born to rewrite the future by reliving the past.



A Windwalker’s daughter, born into an ancient Mayan world as the peacemaker destined to change the fate of the Native American race.


A boy from the future thrust into the past pledges his life, love, and allegiance to a Windwalker’s daughter, and in doing so, becomes the Eagle who watches over the Dove.

Links for purchase:


Barnes & Noble

Friday, April 11, 2014

Update - Placeholder

I am still working on my special project, but I will be posting a review of Dinah McCall's wonderful sequel to her award-winning novel, Windwalker, in the next few days.  It is a beautiful story called The Dove.

Just wanted to let you know I'm still here and working.  Take care and enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When Swallows Fall by Gloria Davidson Marlow

I recently read an excellent historical romantic suspense novel, entitled When Swallows Fall by multipublished author Gloria Marlow.  I was grabbed by this story, even though romantic suspense is not my usual first choice for reading material.  I never figured out the identity of the real killer until the climax in which the identity was revealed. 

It is an atmospheric tale of a twin sister going to her sister's funeral.  The death was unexpected and sudden, murder is suspected.  Ophelia (Fee), the surviving sister and her twin, Desdemona (Desi)had been estranged for years.  Fee was called away from New Orleans and the man she loved to take care of her ailing father.  Desi took her place on the trip and ultimately married Fee's sweetheart, Cade. Needless to say, Fee and Desi never spoke again, though Fee had hopes of reconciliation.

Ms. Marlow has written a darkly beautiful story with lyrical images of the haunted mansion, the people within its walls, and the surrounding land. The quality of the writing reminded me of one of my all-time favorite novels, Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier.  It has the same richly shadowed atmosphere vividly presented and characters the reader will remember.

This one's a keeper.  Read it, you won't be disappointed.

Brava, Ms. Marlow!


Although Ophelia Garrett loved Cade Scott first, it was her sister he married and took home to his plantation. When Ophelia receives word of her sister's murder and Cade's arrest, she travels there on a mission to learn the truth. She soon finds the halls of Almenara are haunted by secrets, peril, and quite possibly her sister's ghost.

Despite the cold, angry man Cade has become, Ophelia's heart refuses to believe he is a murderer. Vowing to do everything she can to prove his innocence, Ophelia must open wounds she'd hoped were long healed and face the feelings that still burn between her and Cade. As everyone looks to Cade as the suspect, evil haunts the dunes and halls of Almenara, bringing death to two more young women and forcing Ophelia to confront the danger.

Links for purchase:


The Wild Rose Press