Sunday, August 21, 2016

Nuclear Apples? Debuts September 1

Nuclear Apples? The Third Penny Weaver Mystery.

Publisher: Hoganvillaea Books.

Paperback: $15.00 ISBN-13: 978-1530404506 E-book: $2.99.

223 pages

Book description:  

Penny Weaver, a mid-50s unconventional poet/activist takes on a nuclear plant CEO who has political clout.  Against a backdrop of environmental racism Penny Weaver sticks her neck out to free her friend, Riverdell’s community leader and nuclear scientist, who is accused of murder.  Will Penny and her housemates’ dream of an apple orchard be defeated by the cataclysm of nuclear fire?  Two of the plant’s public relations directors who secretly offer information to the community group are shot.  Penny copes with a slit tire, being followed, her room vandalized, and police brutality at a sit-in, but still the real killer eludes her.  Suspects include Penny’s skinhead neighbor, the plant’s CEO, who instigates violence against the demonstrators, and a pro-nuclear power supporter.


In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Judy Hogan was involved in a real-life citizen movement to keep high-level radioactive waste from being shipped from around the Carolinas and stored at a nuclear plant near her home. She has turned that successful struggle into a thrilling whodunit. This book captures the feeling of community and empowerment that came from neighbors banding together for the common good, and it reminds us that the same courage and solidarity are still needed today to guide the conscience of corporations, governments and the media.
--Jim Warren, Executive Director of NC WARN

In this compelling story of community activism set in 1992, Penny Weaver stands firmly with others concerned about the dangerous storage of nuclear waste in close proximity to her neighborhood. Will those who control the nuclear plant stop at nothing to undermine those protesting, including murder?  –K.M. Rockwood, Author of the Jesse Damon mysteries.

Events Scheduled in North Carolina for Nuclear Apples?

September 7, Wednesday, 10-11 a.m., Interview on Sanford Radio station WDSG, 1079. with Hogan and Susan Benning.

September 13, Tuesday noon to 1 p.m., "Lunch and Learn," with Hogan conducting a short workshop on how she published Nuclear Apples?  Lee County Library, 107 Hawkins Ave., Sanford, NC.

Then same library: 6:30-8, Lee County Library, with a dramatized scene from chapter 3 of the novel.  Contact: Susan Benning.

September 22, Thursday, 3-6 PM, at the Pittsboro Farmers’ Market, to sell and sign books.

September 24, Saturday, 1-4 PM, May Memorial Library, Burlington, Local Authors showcase, 342 S. Spring St.

October 2, Sunday, 2 PM.  West Wake County Library, 4000 Louis Stephens Dr., Cary. Local Author Tea. 

October 15, Saturday, 3 P.M. Cumberland County Library, 401 W. Mountain St., Fayetteville. Reading.


Photo taken at Malice in May 2015 by Lee Sauer.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The People of North Carolina Deserve Better

Photo of an organic farm belonging to the Robersons in Chatham a few years ago.  Wonderful produce, but hard work!

This is a letter I wrote in protest of Tom Reeder's article in our local paper Chatham News/Record, that appeared August 4.  My response was printed in the paper August 11. (See Below) Something is terribly wrong with our state government.  Judy Hogan
Trust is the Key

I’m responding to an article in the Chatham News/Record on August 4, by Tom Reeder, the Assistant Secretary for the Environment at the N.C. Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Mr. Reeder tells us that Governor McCrory’s administration has “become a national leader addressing the threat of coal ash.” This opens the question of whether the citizens of N.C. trust Mr. Reeder, the McCrory Administration, the DEQ, and the N.C. General Assembly.  The people I talk to don’t.

The Dan River spill of many tons of coal ash happened early in McCrory’s administration.  Nobody was focused on the toxicity of coal ash before then.  True, the Coal Ash Management Commission (CAMA) was set up, but McCrory took the NC General Assembly to law to get rid of it, and it never operated.  The coal ash dumps that suddenly in late 2014 were planned by Duke Energy for Chatham (Moncure) and Lee (Colon Rd) had no help from CAMA, and the permits went through in record time for Charah to begin moving ash by truck and later by train, in October 2015.  No serious environmental justice study was done by the state or around the fourteen sites where unlined coal ash ponds are leaking into our rivers where millions of people get their drinking water.  Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump (CCACAD) and Environmental Lee began a court challenge of the permits, which is ongoing.

Then this year we learned of the secret meeting in June 2015 of Duke Energy’s CEO, Lynn Good, McCrory, and Van der Vaart, Secretary of DEQ, all with lawyers.  Shortly thereafter Duke Energy’s fine of $100,000,000 for the Dan River spill was suddenly reduced to $7 million, and two of the needed permits were released to Charah.  Meantime coal ash toxins (cancer-causing Hexavalent Chromium and Vanadium) had been found in people’s wells living close to the coal ash ponds, and the state Health Dept. scientists notified 350 families not to drink their well water or use it for cooking.  Apparently Duke didn’t like this.  They did begin providing bottled water to those families, but they have been recently claiming that there’s no proof the coal ash toxins came from the coal ash ponds.  Dr. Avner Vengosh of the Duke Nicholas School of the Environment has proved the toxins have leaked into the groundwater near the wells.  Next step is proving they reach the wells.

Meantime Dr. Ken Rudo, the highly reputable state toxicologist, refused to sign the second batch of letters going out from the state Health Dept, to tell people it was okay to drink their well water. EPA hadn’t yet set a standard though all the health agencies consulted agreed with Rudo that above .07 ppb (parts per billion) posed a health risk.  The new letter stated that 100 ppb was safe.  Did those folks who received these second letters believe them? Dr. Rudo was quiet for awhile, as Tom Reeder and a Mr. Williams pushed drinking this toxic water. The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) recently took a deposition from Dr. Rudo, and he told the court under oath that even when the governor and his staff pressured him to sign the “do drink” letters, he refused.  Would you trust Tom Reeder, McCrory, Van de Vaart, or Duke Energy?

Tom Reeder tries to flip the blame off McCrory who, he says, will be “holding Duke accountable for years of mismanagement.”   He says the new 640 law recently passed by the General Assembly will save Duke Energy customers money because the cost of fully excavating all those leaking ponds would have been passed along to customers.  He’s defending the now legal solution of “capping in place” these ponds, which won’t stop their leaking into the rivers. The 630 law says Duke must run water lines to the homes of the “Do drink” letter recipients, but none of them want to keep living on toxic land.  This is quite a tricky game the McCrory administration is playing   The bottom line is that Duke’s carelessness created the problem, and Duke should clean it up and not pass the buck to its customers or dump it on other communities. Then our governor tells the media that Dr. Rudo was lying.  Whom do you believe?  Whom do you trust?  Me, I take Tom Reeder’s words with a boxful of salt.

Judy Hogan, PO Box 253, Moncure, NC 27559.  judyhogan at

Two links to check out:


Judy's desk a few years ago.  No cosmos this year, but zinnias rising, and lots of lantana and sunflowers.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Only Answer to Despair

Judy Hogan and Sheila Crump,  two of the leaders of the Chatham Citizens Against Coal Ash Dump at the Gospel Sing in Moncure, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, January 2016.  


Can Flowers Change Your Life? XI.  February 28, 2016

Every so often I ask myself: how am I doing?
Where am I on this path that now has so
many calls to answer?  I keep walking.  I
hear despair in other voices, some cynical,
others frightened.  I tell them to keep walking.
Believe in justice.  Let your hope outlast
your fears.  Each new task adds time, but
I share them, saying, “If we work, we think
less of our fears.  Without our belief, we
will fail.  Can truth-telling and simplicity
of heart win again?  It’s the only thing
that can.  Without my own call I myself
might stumble.  With it I keep striding 
forward.  I know that others walk with me,
trust me, and that is all I need to know.
My path and keeping to it is the only
answer to despair.  Trust that deeply placed 
call. Will to be myself, and keep walking.

Someone didn't like this sign Martha Girolami made, and vandalized it, but it expresses our Moncure Community's feelings about what Duke Energy, with the cooperation of the state government, is doing to us, shipping by truck and rail 12 millions of coal ash. Winter 2015-16

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Live Wire Problems of the Living

Can Flowers Change Your Life? XVII. April 10, 2016

The mind disturbed seeks its peace,
so I today hope to reconcile and
return to wholeness the storms within
my mind and without it in the breasts
of other people.  The Arctic air descended
when our spring was in full flower.
Is all my fruit destroyed?  I lit the
woodstove, wrapped myself in warm
clothes, drank hot tea, and watch sun
return us to normality and reveal our
losses.  I still do almost everything
I did five years ago, but more slowly.  
I can’t chase a hen who got loose.  
I have to wait until she comes to me.  
I’m not good in a crisis like I once was. 
I need to pull back and calm down.  
I fall asleep fast but worry will wake 
me early and not let me go until I 
write it away.  I wanted to live a long 
life.  I am.  I’ve argued with doctors 
who end up helping me stay away 
from so many medicines, and my basic 
health holds.  I rest more but I do recover.
I have too many gifts and too many 
calls, but I haven’t failed any yet.  
So it’s harder now?  Live and learn.  
I do.  I have.  I will.  In the end I’ll die.  
Then my life can be examined, my foibles
noted, my enemies flouted, my friends 
reassured, my accomplishments praised, 
my presence mourned, but not yet.  I live 
with all the live-wire problems of the 
living, and I still have my chance. 


My son Tim a few years ago with hens.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

These Gifts Are Like Prayers

Can Flowers Change Your Life? IV. January 10, 2016

Cold rain, cold sun.  The indoor
flowers bloom.  The small orchid
has dozens of flower stalks aimed
at window light, patient on grey days,
eager, when sun is full and skies blue
again.  The amaryllis begins its slow
rise, a centimeter at a time.  A reporter
came to my book signing, smiling the 
whole time.  He said his editor gets
a kick out of me. Jane calls me noble,
Susan gives me corn and potato chowder.
Zoila helped me harvest lemon balm and
weed in the orchard.  Today I will
speak to my community about my
love for them and the war we fight
to stop the coal ash, and then we will
sing.  Enough money has come in
for me to pay my bills and keep 
publishing books.  I have eased my
way through stressful days–too many
meetings, but now I rest and see my
way forward.  I’m on my leyline, 
more than I’ve ever been before.  I’m
fulfilling a prophecy I saw fifteen years
ago: my books are coming into print.
What I never expected is coming true,
too.  People are reaching out to help me
before I ask.  Shawn repaired the
clothesline; Jane brought lights for
the sign.  Julia traded her lovely calendar
for a new book.  Dawn and Jim have 
ordered fatwood fire starters.  I have students
eager to hear what I’ve learned about
writing these forty-two years of teaching,
nurturing those who doubted their
powers.  Cathy is praying for our gospel
sing benefit today.  All these gifts are like
prayers, all these hands keeping me steady 
on my feet like Terica did Friday.  Somehow 
the Universe is sending light to me, sanctioning 
what I write, what I do, and even who I am.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Two Souls With One Body and Two Wings

Mikhail Bazankov during Literature Week at the Kostroma Writers Organization, a year or so ago.

Can Flowers Change Your Life? XVI. April 3, 2016

  Your witchery is of a different order from others’–and springs, I believe, from the extraordinary self-possession you command.  It is unique in my experience of women.  You have my unqualified esteem and respect; you have my trust and my heart; and if I love you, my dear, it is as one loves the familiar room to which one returns after desperate wandering.  In this room I might draw the shades upon the world and live in comfort forever.  Do not cry for me, Jane, but carry me always in your heart, as one who loved you for that courage to be yourself, and not what convention would have you be.  Your Rogue.  --Jane and Her Lord’s Legacy by Stephanie Barron, 290.

“One day, Judy, each of us will have one wing, and we will fly somewhere together.”
--Mikhail Bazankov, August 1990.

I never thought of Jane Austen being 
like me in her love life, but in this 
imagined portrait by Stephanie Barron, 
I see new truth.  The older I get, the
more I love Jane’s mind.  She is herself,
her thin rapier giving us truths about
our foibles, our goodness, and our
essential humanity.  One man I loved
told me he was always comfortable 
in my presence.  I barely understood
the significance. Of course then a bold,
outrageous man would find Jane’s
mind and heart his comfort.  Mikhail
never used those words, but he didn’t 
need to.  When he and I were at peace
and simply attuned one to another,
in those rare, heightened moments,
that was why.  We were separated by
distances, of miles, and responsibilities
to ourselves and other people.  We 
fought, hurt each other, tried to get away,
but the join always held.  It holds today,
though you died late last year.  I hope,
my love, that now you live in comfort
forever.  Here I continue to work my way
through a thicket of problems and doubts,
but come to rest at intervals in your
presence when we simply were together,
two souls with one body and two wings.

My phalaenopsis, given to me by the Xin family in 2015, had twelve blooms. In 2016-May-July, it has had twenty-four blooms, and still has two that refuse to fall.  It doesn't take much water, but it needs light!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Can Flowers Change Your Life?

Can Flowers Change Your Life? I.

October 18, 2015

They change mine.  The first frost warnings
are out.  I planted zinnias late–the big ones,
mixed colors.  I had to dig out high weeds,
fertilize, and then sow the fragile seed.
Grass flourished as the seeds became
seedlings, so I dug out the grass.  Then 
Wag became obsessed with unearthing 
voles.  I scolded but her deeper instincts 
were at work.  She must remove the voles 
herself. I put down cayenne pepper 
and fox urine granules.  Some of the 
voles moved into the lawn, but others 
merely hunkered down and waited.  
Meantime the flowers rose on long, 
healthy stems and began to bloom. 
By then it was September.  Undeterred 
by wind that pushed them over or 
erratic rain–too little or too much--they 
held high their blazing reds, oranges, pinks, 
whites, yellows, lavenders.  Once when I 
set a bouquet on the front stoop, a butterfly 
found them and left reluctantly.  Every time 
I see them in their part of the garden, in my
kitchen, on my dining table, or traveling 
in my car to give a friend, they tell me 
everything will be okay.  I seem to need 
reminding more and more these years, 
They bloomed, they still bloom, they keep 
on blooming.  Only a hard frost will still 
their cheerful voices.