Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lonely in the Heart of the World by Mindi Meltz

Lonely in the Heart of the World by Mindi Meltz, Logosophia Books, September 30, 2013. $29. 832 pages.  ISBN: #9780981575742.  $25 shipping included, if you order  for a signed copy before September 30th.

Publisher's Weekly /gives it this Starred review

The search for love resonates throughout this fiercely imaginative epic. A princess/goddess flees her glass tower to find the prince who was supposed to rescue her. Named Lonely by the wind, she embarks on a voyage of discovery that includes a unicorn, a wily huntress, gods and goddesses, and a prolonged reflection on why we live. In contrast, independent Delilah has no need for love; she opts for a desert existence but finds her solitude threatened by Dragon, a youth impelled to go on his own quest. The City, built by Lonely’s father at the heart of the world, exalts technology but stifles the spirit of another, unnamed character. In her leisurely but potent narrative, Meltz (Author of /Beauty/) sustains a rhapsodic tone that embraces both the sacred and the decidedly profane, and presents humanity as both threatening and compassionate. The disparate elements harmonize in unexpected and startling ways. Sometimes gushing, frequently heart-tugging, and always gripping, despite its length, this tale will reward the reader with a pantheistic glimpse of destruction, rebirth, and the tantalizing nature of desire and union. 

From Don Dulchinos, author of/ Forbidden Sacraments/ and /Neurosphere/: 

LONELY IN THE HEART OF THE WORLD is an ancient mystery tour into our connected future. Mindi Meltz explores the deep nature of the City that is built upon the heart of the world. She decries the establishment of that City through resource extraction, alienation and brute force, but then provides some keys to understanding the spirits and gods that animate the City, hints at what came before it, and strives to discover what lies beyond it. Lonely's quest is a poetic initiatory journey of a woman discovering the true world and her own place among the gods of our connected world. Lonely struggles with the dangers and consequences of 
abandoning the ancient rites and Mysteries. She finds her way to the power of love in an attempt to heal herself, and then her world. 
Lonely's journey is our collective story. 
Mindi Meltz's Readings and Signings schedule: 
Malaprops Bookstore Asheville Friday Oct 11th 7 pm 
City Lights Bookstore Silva Saturday Nov 9th 3-4 pm 
Firestorm Cafe Asheville Friday December 6th 7 pm 


It begins with the unseen princess—named Lonely by the wind—of a City whose people have forgotten their bodies, hearts, and souls; as she escapes from her illusory tower to search for the mysterious prince who never showed up. Guided in her journey by wilderness outcasts, gods, and wise animals, she gradually becomes human; discovering her first desire with a tortured dragon god of the desert, and awakening to the cycles of earth and family on a humble mountain farm. At last she soars to spiritual heights with her ghost-prince above the clouds, only to lose him again, falling backward into the painful truth of her own past as the polluted river goddess carries her to the City at the Heart of the World. Long ago, Lonely's own father built the City on top of a mystical swamp, displacing her prince's people and forcing them to transform into shape-shifting dream gods. Now her search for her beloved intertwines with that of the dragon god, a seductive huntress haunted by her past, an abused child who in her madness hides her soul in the form of a 
unicorn, and the witch who cursed Lonely but who paradoxically holds the key to her salvation. Battling the inner demons of rage and pain, all must find the courage to reclaim their own identities, wildness, and divinity in order to save the City and themselves from cataclysmic destruction.


Interview with Mindi Meltz

1.  When did you begin writing?  Why?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember.  I’ve always felt such delicious joy and magic in my imagination and inner worlds.  As a child I wrote children’s books and chapter books, often from the perspective of animals. I loved pretending, not because I didn’t like the reality I was in, but because to imagine myself inside other places and experiences was fascinating.   And I always loved to think in terms of symbols and dreams. When I was very young, I was already wondering a lot about dreams and whether or not life itself was a dream. I was fortunate to attend a tiny, creative school in Maine that encouraged imagination and gave me weekly writing assignments.  The earliest one I can remember was: “pretend you are a creature in the ocean and describe what it feels like.”  I loved that one!  More than anything else, it has always been nature that called me to write about it.  As I grew older, I wanted especially to express how nature reflects the human soul, in a way that would be healing and inspire people to feel empathy for other beings.

2.  When and why did you begin writing Lonely in the Heart of the World?

I played with the first ideas for it about ten years ago, when I was living in California.  The setting there, the people I knew, and the passions that animated our lives at that time all felt very dramatic. I was moved by the loneliness I felt and saw around me, and I had the sense that all these beautiful, lonely people I knew were like gods and goddesses from some other world that, here in this world, had lost their sense of place and forgotten their true identities.  That wasn’t the literal basis for my storyline, but it inspired some of the feeling behind it.  Perhaps most of all, I wanted to write about humanity’s disconnection from each other, the planet, and our own hearts – and to write an epic story that, like a good dream, might inspire us to reconnect.

3.  Explain the basic idea for your book.

Around that time, I also began to see my own journey of searching for a soulmate in a mythical context, which helped me make sense of it.  I was haunted by an idea of the archetypal princess in the tower, who gets tired of waiting for her prince, comes down to search for him, and in the process discovers the world.  That became the seed of the story.  The many other characters in the story were born, at least in part, out of the living landscapes of her journey, which I began to connect with the four elements, Fire, Earth, Air, and Water.  Often the natural landscapes came into my mind first, and then the characters developed out of them. 

4.  Tell us about your journey to publication with this book.

To have my writing published and “out there” has been the greatest desire of my life for as long as I can remember.  I’m a writer more than anything else, and in some ways what I express in my writing feels truer and more important than anything I express through my everyday personhood in the world.  So in a way, I need my writing to be read in order to feel that I exist.
It was a difficult book to publish because of the length and because it crosses genres.  
I received countless rejection letters, which was a familiar process because I’d already tried to publish two other books. I trained myself to stay positive and not give in to despair, and that was good for me.  Judy helped with that a lot, and psychologically held my hand sometimes through some of the darker moments.  Trying to find a publisher, someone who would recognize the value of my story and help me get it into the world, was a process of hope and longing which in a way mirrored the yearning for connection that underlies the novel itself.  So it was a very meaningful journey for me.  

5.  Why did you choose to write about the topic, themes, issues you chose?

(I think I’ve already answered this one.)
6.  How have you found it to be published?  Share that experience.

My book hasn’t been released just yet, but I can say that working with my publisher has been a really sweet experience.  I once talked with Terry Tempest Williams for a few minutes (at my college graduation, where she spoke), and she told me that getting published isn’t about competition; it’s about “finding your people.”  And that’s what this has felt like for me.  I found people who were kindred spirits, who truly appreciated and understood what I had written, who believed in it so much that they felt they had to get it out there, even though it was a financial risk for them.  It’s a small, new publishing company.  But I would rather work with them than any big company, no matter how influential.  They are wise and kind and beloved to me, and they live right near me so we can meet for lunch, go over our work and our plans, and enjoy a real partnership that gives me the morale support I need to do all the difficult marketing part.

7.  Do you have comments from readers or reviewers you’d like to share?

I received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and more recently a very positive review from ForeWord Reviews.  You can read those on my website.  As of this interview, the book isn’t out yet, but here’s a comment my publisher received from a farmer and permaculturist who read the first chapter (available for free on my website):

Wanted to say I read the first chapter of Lonely in the Heart of the World. I have never been so captivated by a novel in my life. I rarely even like novels. This one, though, is sure to be a jaw dropper. Will refer many people to it in the future. 

8.  What other books have you published and where, when?

I published a novel called Beauty in 2009.  It’s available through my website and on Amazon.  It was a shorter piece about a poet who falls for a cruel but fascinating wild man, and about the meaning of longing and what it is to be human versus animal.  I also wrote a novella before that one, based on the selkie myth, but though I was able to secure an agent, it was never published.

9.  Do you have a work in progress now?  

Yes, but it’s very new, which means I can’t be sure yet if it’s going to fly.  Even when I was writing Lonely… I was more than halfway through before I knew for sure that I was going to stick with it.  I’m in the fun, unfettered dreaming stage of the process.  I would tell you about it, but I never talk about what I’m writing before it’s done.

10.  If you belong to any writing organizations, e.g., Sci Fi and Fantasy groups, has that been helpful?  How?

I don’t.  I honestly never considered my work a fantasy until people in the field told me it was.  I thought of it as literary fiction with magic in it, set in a dreamscape.  I should probably join some kind of group, I suppose that would be helpful.  I’m solitary by nature and like to do things on my own, so it takes me some effort to motivate for such things.

11.  What else would like to say about your books?  Have you another one in the works?

I’m getting more and more into the medium of fairy tale and myth. I will probably continue on that path.  Throughout history, fairy tales, folk tales, and myths have been helping people make sense of life in a deep way, deeper than the mind, on a visceral, soul level of understanding.  Because of their language of beauty, and because of the sacred structure of story, they can feel more real than reality, as if they are crystallizing reality into a truer, more intuitive form. 

At the same time, I love taking the abstract, idealized sketch of a fairy tale and filling it in with the gritty, sensual, emotional details of the living people and beings that inhabit it.  And I need to believe in mythical creatures and lands.  I don’t know how anyone can live without them.

Mindi's website:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Beaver Soul by Judy Hogan

Beaver Soul by Judy Hogan.  Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, KY, $12 (with NC tax, $12.81; by mail from Hogan, PO B 253, Moncure, NC 27559-0253.  $14.50. ISBN: 978-1-62229-324-7, 32 pages. Publication Date (delayed) October 1, 2013.  Cover drawing by Mikhail Bazankov, and the drawings I've pasted below on this blog as well.  Thanks, Mikhail!

Translator’s Introduction to the Russian edition (1997)

Judy Hogan lives in North Carolina, in the United States.  She is a pioneer-discoverer among American poets who have visited Russia in its new time.  Judy arrived for the first time in Russia in the summer of 1990.  Then she also lived among us in 1992 and in 1995.  She visited both in our cities and in the Russian villages near Kostroma.

This kind and hardy woman, who has known many sorrows in her life and who has a talent for capturing subtle impressions, came to understand and feel close to Russia.  Her poems about the villages near Kostroma and about the settlement of Komarovo near Peterburg became naturally part of a great cycle of poems she began in North Carolina.  She calls it Beaver Soul.

These poems are written by a poet who is reflective, keenly observant, and is continuously getting acquainted with the world.  At first glance they remind one of the poetic notes of a phenologist [one making a study of the different phases of plant and animal life]; the changing of the season, the habits of the animals and birds, the death and resurrection of the leaves.  But only at first glance.  Judy continually weaves the golden thread of her lyric meditation and her philosophical comprehension of nature, its creatures, and people, into the fabric of her observations.  Her own soul in her poems is associated with the image of the beaver–a builder, patient and persistent in its work and in taking care of its family.  And everything that takes place in the beaver’s life–its joys and sorrows, its misfortunes and successes–corresponds to events in her own life.  The motto of Judy Hogan is creating and overcoming.

I trust that the Russian reader will feel close to the world of her “beaver soul,” the world of this poet who is so interested in our natural world, our people, and the problems of the growing intimacy between our countries; in the writings of a poet who already loves us and feels what we feel.

Welcome to the beaver lodge–the poetic home of Judy Hogan.

Nonna Slepakova
St. Petersburg, Russia


On the Haw near Saxapahaw December 29, 1991

The entrance to her house is flooded,
but she must have known it would
happen.  Where is she?  Sleeping, in
an upper chamber, snug between the mud
above and the river’s lapping near her feet.  
The geese are more bewildered, and
have roosted in the woods on this side
of the river.  Does she know how to
build so the water can’t reach her
or will she have to swim out when
the rains are all drained into the
swelling river tide and cover her bank?
She does make mistakes.  I’ve seen
the evidence.  Trees that never do fall,
though felled by her patient teeth.  And
I’ve saved the gnawed globes she makes
when she gives up in one place
and begins to bite her way through in 
another.  It isn’t so much that she’s
free of error, as that she has an
excess of determination and the patience 
to go with it.  And she will work
on what she believes in.  I’m like her,
this beaver who understands the river,
not perfectly but in all the ways that 
matter.  I’ve inherited, by long study,
her beaver soul.  And so, I, too,
build my lodge by the river.  I will be
as nocturnal as I need to be, as canny,
as whimsical with my teeth, and
as long-lasting in my faithfulness.
I have learned to work, not just in
the world’s sense, no: in the house of
my spirit, where my beaver soul sleeps
by day and labors indefatigably by
night, night after night, whether it’s
cold or warm, pouring down rain or
brittle with the wind’s iced breath.
I have learned to work on the problems 
of existence, of how we are to live
wisely within and without ourselves; how
we are to grow strong and competent and
yet stay simple and approachable; how
love may carry us over the arbitrary
fencing we human beings so love to construct
around ourselves for safety and convenience,
only, of course, we fence ourselves in.
We lose the thread our lives were meant to
unravel and illumine.  We lose all that we 
mustn’t on any account lose: our very 
selves.  Guarding destroys us, and we don’t
even notice.  Our ritual dances of enmity
obsess us and we slake ourselves on
polluted water, forgetting what spring water
is like; the memory of that clean,
quenching taste lies buried in oblivion.
We bury our souls with us.  It takes
suffering to work all this old hate
loose and float debris out of our ken
and help us recognize what we do so
easily love, and why.  My beaver soul
knows what she wants.  She’s emphatic,
slapping her tail hard on the water when
my doubts plague me, and I’d rather do
something easier than this, which asks no
less than all of me.  My chance is here.
It arrives like a thousand red-winged
blackbirds landing in my woods.  I see
them alive and in motion on every tree limb.
I hear their chorus.  They are talking
about me.  They give me about ten
minutes.  I walk steadily forward on
my same familiar path.  They accept me
and move only a little way ahead.  They
discuss me loudly and make up their minds.
Then they grow still.  A thousand voices
replaced by silence and the lifting of
two thousand quiet wings.  They won’t be 
back.  They pour down the sky, traveling
upriver a-ways first, then South.
I am where I was before, but changed.
Clear again.  My soul condensed a little
more; letting go a few more things that are
needless to worry over.  Today the river is
richly brown with mud.  Harbinging spring.
The sun has turned.  This rain will bring
up daffodils; the red wings won’t have long
in their Southern waters; and the geese will
be mating for nests of eggs, come March.


Back cover blurbs:

Judy’s writings about the natural world use metaphors as a way of exploding the bounds of perception.  Her poems are informational, compressing experiences, and continue over a span of thirty years to help us see the likenesses between systems of human, plant, animal,  and celestial worlds.  Judy teaches us how to use our poet eyes, how to guide us to truths beyond the scientific way of seeing, weighing, measuring, abstraction, and dissection. 
–Jaki S. Green, 2003 winner of the North Carolina Award, 2009 Piedmont Poet Laureate  

These are love poems.  The heroine-hero is the Earth.  In this way, Judy Hogan’s poems remind me of Thoreau’s journals.  Like Thoreau, she is a natural-born lover of anything that grows, anything original, most particularly the earth that looks after itself continually... You hear Emerson’s world in the background, that yearning to transcend the self.  To do this the poet must keep open house to the world.  So Judy Hogan writes within the romantic sensibility.  She is a passion child.  Her structure is the old and classical kingdom’s.  

--Shelby Stephenson, Playing Dead and Play My Music Anyhow, Finishing Line Press.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review: Julia Spencer-Fleming's Through the Evil Days

Through the Evil Days.  Julia Spencer-Fleming.  November 5, 2013.  Minotaur Books, St. Martin’s Press, NYC.  ISBN: 978-0-312-60684-8.  355 Pages.

In our twenty-first century American culture, we have a dearth of female archetypes.  I have heard it said that we have only the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene.  Spencer-Fleming’s eighth traditional mystery novel gives us new one.  Rev. Clare Fergusson, now married to Police Chief Van Alstyne, and five months pregnant with their child, ends up, during their delayed January honeymoon in a remote part of upper New York state, fighting for her life, her baby’s, that of her husband Russ and eight-year-old Mikayla, a liver-transplant patient, who had been kidnapped and needs her medicine or she’ll die.  

What qualities characterize this new archetype?  An underlying compassion and toughness of spirit that won’t give up, plus common sense, and the ingenuity born of desperation.

The book opens with its main characters being handed a fistful of problems.  Clare has been asked to resign from her job as priest of the Millers Kill Episcopalian Church because the baby was conceived before she was married. This is not considered appropriate behavior for a priest. Clare refuses to pretend remorse. The pregnancy was unplanned, but Clare is determined to have the baby.  

Russ makes it clear he doesn’t want this child.  He feels they have already too much responsibility, and he thinks fifty-two is too old for him to start a family.  Then he learns that the town government is considering closing his police department and turning their work over to the New York state police.  The night before they are to leave for a remote cabin on a lake north of Millers Kill, a house burns down, and the couple inside die.  Their foster child, Mikayla, then goes missing.  The family’s dog, Oscar, is taken in by Clare, another thing Russ doesn’t like.
Then the ice storm of the century hits, puts out power and most phone service, and the police, in Russ’s absence, besides handling all the traffic snarls and accidents, are trying to find Mikayla before her new liver gives out.

The secondary plot involves the young policeman Kevin Flynn and his partner in the search for Mikayla, Hadley Knox.  Flynn loves Hadley, but she has been avoiding him until they are thrown together in this icy landscape to find Mikayla.

Julia Spencer-Fleming is one of my very favorite contemporary mystery authors.  We fans had to wait two and half years for this eighth one in her series, which comes after the New York Times best-seller, One Was a Soldier (April 2011).

In Write Away Elizabeth George says suspense is created for the reader when we care about the characters.  It’s not simply the threat of death or violence, though here there is plenty of that, too. Through the Evil Days engaged me and stirred my worry about the characters early, especially Clare.  She never was a conventional priest.  Now she has neither the church’s support nor her husband’s, and yet she maneuvers her way through crisis after crisis.  In doing so she becomes a model for other women in whatever difficulties they find themselves.  This book will haunt you, but you’ll be sorry to put it down.

Julia Spencer-Fleming, photo by Lisa Bowe (from website)


Julia Spencer-Fleming’s bio from her website

Bestselling author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING is the winner of the Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, Dilys, Barry, Nero Wolfe, and Gumshoe Awards, and an Edgar and Romantic Times RC Award finalist. She was born at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, spending most of her childhood on the move as an army brat. She studied acting and history at Ithaca College, and received her J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law. She lives outside of Portland, Maine.

Most new mothers are lucky if they manage to fit in a shower and a hot meal immediately after the baby arrives. Julia Spencer-Fleming completed her award-winning first novel, In the Bleak Midwinter. “Virginia was born on August 19th, and I finished the book in a torrent of writing over Labor Day weekend,” she says. “Then I worked on rewrites and editing during the rest of my maternity leave. I’d have the nursing baby under one arm and the manuscript under the other.”

The usual route for a first time author is to secure an interested agent. But Spencer-Fleming was juggling two older children plus the new baby, a 180-year-old farmhouse in the Maine countryside, a dog, a cat, a husband, and a demanding legal practice. She didn’t have time to send out letter after letter to agents. “I found out about the St. Martin’s ‘Best First Novel’ contest a week before the deadline. I shipped out my manuscript on Halloween and told myself I didn’t have to do anything more to try to get published until they announced the winner in early April. I figured at least an editor would take a look at it, and maybe I’d get some good feedback.”

Instead, she got a call from legendary mystery editor Ruth Cavin informing her In the Bleak Midwinter had beaten out over two hundred and thirty other manuscripts to win the 2001 Best First Traditional Mystery Award. St. Martin’s, the country’s largest publisher of mysteries, has since 1989 sponsored “Best First” awards for private eye and traditional mysteries. Previous winners have gone on to collect Edgar, Anthony and Agatha awards and nominations.

Her editor describes the book as “an outstanding addition to our award-winners,” a judgement confirmed by the book’s outstanding reviews in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, Publishers Weekly and other major newspapers. As In the Bleak Midwinter’s print runs sold out again and again--it is now in its fifth printing-- St. Martin’s quickly signed the author to a two-book contract for a third and fourth in the series. Now she’s said good-bye to the law office and hello to the life of a full-time author.

Spencer-Fleming’s debut success owes much to its chillingly accurate portrayal of life and death in a small upstate New York town. “Millers Kill is an amalgam of the towns and villages that I knew as a child.” she says. “My family settled in the Adirondack Piedmont in the 1720s and I spent a lot of time tramping around those hills, hearing stories of Indian massacres and Revolutionary battles and eavesdropping on the small-town gossip about who was pregnant and whose dairy was failing. That part of New York, where poor farms and Saratoga money and the mountains all come together, has always held a bone-deep fascination for me.”

Along with the Millers Kill series, she has plans for a thriller involving a stand-off at a snow-bound prison. She says life in upstate New York and Maine has given her an affinity for wintery murder and mayhem. “You realize how snow and ice can rule your life. The weather, like any well-written villain, is both fascinating and deadly.”

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Farm Fresh and Fatal Due Out October 1

Only three weeks now until Farm Fresh and Fatal comes out. Early readers seem pleased.  Here is my first review on Amazon from Sharon Ewing:

I have been anticipating the publication of Judy Hogan's second Penny Weaver mystery since she first described it to me several years ago. When my pre-publication order of Farm Fresh and Fatal arrived last week, I was not disappointed. The first sentence of the book plunges into the action that will carry the reader to the fast-paced turns and twists of the final chapter, where the murderer is revealed and finally apprehended. Along the way, in spite of their differences over traditional farming methods, genetically modified seeds (GMOs) organic farming, and race, the ragtag collection of farmers at the newly-formed Riverdell Farmers Market molds itself into a community, with the help of earnest activist and sleuth, Penny Weaver, herself a sustainable farmer. Through false arrests, ungrounded suspicions, and angry or disappointed lovers, Penny and her devoted friend Sammie organize the group to meet each crisis with yet another potluck supper, the table loaded with dishes made from the fresh produce grown by the members.

As Penny and Sammie connive to solve the murder and save the market, the reader is treated to a developing picture of characters from Hogan's first published mystery, Killer Frost, and given hints of earlier relationships and adventures. I am one reader who is eager to read more of the characters and conflicts Hogan has created in her small but vital North Carolina rural world. 

It's great if you like the book, if you send me your thoughts, as I'll post them on my blog later. Also our editor at Mainly Murder Press is urging us to get our books reviewed on Amazon, so if you are happy enough with the book to do both, great. I do still have pre-sale copies, $17 to pick up (included tax) and $20 for me to mail it to: PO Box 253, Moncure, NC, 27559. 
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9895804-0-3 $15.95
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9895804-1-0.  $2.99.
Back cover plot synopsis and reader comments:

When Penny Weaver joins the new Riverdell Farmers’ Market, things go from bad to worse.  The county’s poultry agent is poisoned, apparently after drinking fruit punch provided by the abrasive market manager, who claims innocence but is arrested. The state ag department threatens to close the market.  Penny and her friend Sammie work to uncover the real poisoner.  Kent is unpopular with the quirky farmers, with the exception of the genetically modified seeds man and the baker/jelly maker.  Penny and Sammie discover that the poison was black nightshade, but which farmer grows it and who put it in the punch?
Praise for Killer Frost:

A charming puzzler of a traditional mystery, this classic academic mystery debut is a pageturner populated with layered, interesting characters.  My hat is off to Judy Hogan on a stellar debut.  I look forward to the further adventures of Professor Penny Weaver at St. Francis college!
–Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times Bestselling Author of One Was A Soldier.

Farm Fresh and Fatal features an appealing protagonist, an intriguing background, and well-realized characters.  Readers will enjoy these characters and empathize with their successes and failures.  In the tradition of Margaret Maron.  –Carolyn Hart, author of Dead, White, and Blue.

Hogan serves up a complex dish that is flavored with community and family drama.  It is spiced with intrigue, finished with mystery and delivered right off the vine.
–Lyle Estill, President, Piedmont Biofuels and author of Small is Possible

Judy Hogan delivers again in her fearless Farm Fresh and Fatal.  Through a story built on a strong foundation of research she tackles difficult issues, all the while giving us a first-rate read.  And that authentic voice her readers have come to expect shines on every page.  
--Lane Stone, author, Tiara Investigations Mystery series.
One difficult, hot button issue in farming/food today is genetically modified seeds.  The only truly safe food any more is organic. Those organic/sustainable farmers are working to keep the land and the natural resources safe for growing food that isn’t poisoned by pesticides and herbicides.  Big corporations like Monsanto work at the highest levels of government to keep food from being labeled GMO, but 90% of food grown in North Carolina is grown GMO: corn, soy, rape (Canola oil), sugar beets, and wheat.  

I’d love to have you at a reading for my two new books.  Here are the dates in the greater Triangle area.  Next May I’ll even be reading in the greater DC area when I attend Malice Domestic Mystery Convention.  Stay tuned!  Judy Hogan
Schedule for Farm Fresh and Fatal and Beaver Soul readings/events–Fall-Winter 2013

September 15, 2013.  Day of publication and pre-sales mailed for Beaver Soul.

October 1, 2013.  Day of publication and pre-sales mailed for Farm Fresh and Fatal.

October 24, Thursday, 3:30-6 P.M.  Pittsboro Farmers’ Market at Fairgrounds.  Sell and sign books.

October 26, Saturday, 2 PM.  Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill.

November 2, Saturday, 11 AM-1 PM.  Paperbacks Plus, Siler City.  Signing.

November 8, Friday, 6 PM.  Jackie Helvey’s radio show video-taped interview on community radio and TV--WCOM, Carrboro.  I will send the link afterwards. 

November 12, Tuesday, 7 PM, Goldsboro Library, Goldsboro, NC.

November 19, Tuesday, 7 PM.  Regulator Bookshop, 720 W. Ninth St., Durham.

December 1-31.  Display of Beaver Soul, Farm Fresh and Fatal, and Killer Frost at my Capital Bank, on the circle in Pittsboro.  With bookmarks and cards.

December 3, Tuesday, 7 PM.  South Regional Branch of Durham County Library.

December 8, Sunday, 2 PM.  McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village, Chatham


June 17, Monday.  A Real Writer? and

August 13, Tuesday. Cheap Healthy Brownies w/connection to Penny Weaver’s cooking and the PMZ Poor Woman’s Cookbook. Janet Rudolph’s blog cross posting with her mystery blog

September 7-13.  Killer Frost cover displayed in rotation with other books from Sisters in Crime members.  Home page, toward the bottom, of

October 1, Tuesday. Jenny Milchman’s blog on my “Made It” Moment with this book. 

October 5, Saturday, Salad Day.  Why I Prefer Small Presses.

October 5, Saturday.  Book Buzz feature on North Carolina Writers’ Network (

October 7, Monday.  From Experience to Mystery.

October 14, Monday.  Why I Write About Social Issues.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Deferred Dream by Gary Tyson

Photo of Martin Luther King, Jr., age 35, Nobel Peace Prize, 1964.


A Deferred Dream by Gary Tyson:

On a sweltering August 28th afternoon in 1963 MLK Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to declare to people of every race, creed and color about a dream he had.  While many of us have heard this speech many times, and some can quote it word for word, very few folks have heard about Dr. King’s “Deferred Dream” he later spoke about.  

Yes, Dr. King confessed, not long after giving the “I have Dream”speech, one of the most eloquent speeches in the history of mankind, that his dream started to turn into a nightmare.  Dr. King stated his dream turned into a nightmare when four beautiful, unoffending, innocent black girls were murdered in a church in Birmingham, Alabama.  He stated he saw his dream turn into a nightmare when he moved through the ghettos of the nation and saw black brothers and sisters perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.  

He stated that his dream turned into a nightmare when he watched his black brothers and sisters in the midst of anger and understandable outrage, in the midst of their hurt, in the midst of their disappointment, turn to misguided riots to try to solve their problems.  He stated his dream turned into a nightmare as he watched the war in Vietnam escalate with extraordinarily high proportions of black men, relative to the rest of the population, dying on shores eight thousand miles away.  

Martin went on to say that he was the victim of deferred dreams and blasted hopes.  But, he stated, “You can’t give up in life.”  He stated, “If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all.”  He closed out that speech on that cold December night in 1967 with these words.  

“I still have a dream.  A dream that one day men will rise up and come to see that they are made to live together as brothers.  A dream that one day every Negro in this country, every colored person in the world will be judged on the basis of the content of his character rather than the color of his skin and every man will respect the dignity and worth of human personality.  A dream that one day the idle industries of Appalachia will be revitalized and the empty stomachs of Mississippi will be filled and brotherhood will be more than a few words at the end of a prayer, but rather the first order of business on every legislative agenda.  A dream that one day justice will roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.  

[I] Still have a dream that in all the state houses and city halls men will be elected to go there who will do justly and love mercy and walk humbly  with their God.  A dream that one day war will come to an end, and men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and that nations will no longer rise up against nations, neither will they study war any more.  A dream that one day the lamb and the lion will lie down together and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.  A dream that every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill will be made low, the rough places will be made smooth and the crooked places straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

He dreamed that the faith all of mankind will be able to adjourn the councils of despair and bring new light into the dark chambers of pessimism.  He stated, with that faith, mankind will be able to speed up the day when there will be peace on earth and good will toward men.  He said, “It will be a glorious day, the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy.” 
I believe today in the great United States of America, fifty years after Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, we are still experiencing a deferred dream.  Even with our great gains, and the election and reelection of our first African American President, we are still living in the shadows of the dream that Dr. King envisioned.  As matter of fact, in many cases our dreams have turned into nightmares.  

When black males make up 12% of our population, but over 60% of our prison population, our dream has become a nightmare. When homicide is the leading cause of death for black men between the ages of 18-29, that’s a nightmare.   When young black males on the asphalt streets of Chicago have a greater chance of being killed than on the battlefields in the Middle East, that is a dream that has turned into a nightmare.  When 70% of our black families do not have fathers in the home, it’s time for us to wake up from the slumber of our sleep and shake off the fog of our peaceful dreams.

While dreaming is good, the truth is, when you dream, you are lying on your back with your eyes closed, and when you wake up, you are still lying in the same spot as when you went to sleep.  That type of inaction is not going to make a deferred dream become a reality.  A deferred dream is the hardest dream to grasp due to its darting moving target.  The best way to fully achieve a deferred dream is to keep your eyes wide open.                            


Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., from the Nobel Prize website:

Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family's long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father has served from then until the present, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro* institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. Two sons and two daughters were born into the family

In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation. He was ready, then, early in December, 1955, to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States, the bus boycott described by Gunnar Jahn in his presentation speech in honor of the laureate. The boycott lasted 382 days. On December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. During these days of boycott, King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.

In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience. and inspiring his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, "l Have a Dream", he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.

At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated.