Sunday, April 30, 2017

That Precipice of Ecstatic Joy

Drawing of crane on roof by Mikhail Bazankov for Beaver Soul.

Those Eternally Linked Lives 10 April 30, 2017

Once you were alive and acting silly. 
2001 when this photo was made
in the garden of Sveta’s father who
was dressed as a scarecrow. Marja-Sisko,
dear Finnish friend, on the other side of
our host, smiling. Behind us a lively
garden, some rows under row cover.
I was happy and stood close to you.
Sixteen years ago. We’d loved each
other eleven years, and sometimes
tried not to. It never worked. We each
played our parts. We had produced
our Earth and Soul anthology of North
Carolina poetry in English and Russian.
Copies went all over the Kostroma
Region to schools and libraries. Our
love was like that: almost all for
other people. For us a few moments 
here and there of standing on that
precipice of ecstatic joy, clothed 
in a single communion, words being
unnecessary. It began when we had
no words, two writers with no shared
speech. I learned Russian. Yet you 
told me your love so many other
ways: gestures, laughter, funny faces,
silly songs, anger, drawings in that
very book we engineered together.
A man and woman stand before a 
mountain they wish to climb and
leave their world behind, eat greens
and berries. It didn’t matter. Arm in
arm, free. The walk we never took

but never forgot we wanted to.

Geese flying by Mikhail Bazankov for Beaver Soul

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Grace and Gracie

Grace Roys with one-year old Gracie, 1916. Nanking, China

Those Eternally Linked Lives 9 April 23, 2017

Could Grace be eternally linked, too?
I think so. Not on purpose. I didn’t know
her when I was six and she was fifty-five. 
She was home, not hospitalized then, 
but whimsical and hard for Mother, 
who was probably hard for her, and I
must have reminded her of her lost
child, Gracie, who died when she was
eight. There are the loves given to us
all unknowing, not planned, but something
deeper and kinder is at work, though
at age six it didn’t feel kind. It felt scary.
Grace defied Mother and took Margie
and me to get our hair cut and permed.
Later she brought bunnies for Easter.
They lived outside and regularly
escaped into the local Victory gardens.
Mother had to chase them and bring
them back. For some reason I can’t 
fathom, my deep mind took in the two
Graces--maybe because they were models
that fitted--even though one was crazy
and the other one, dead. I had that same
sensitivity that makes an artist, which
Proust called les grands nerveux, or
neurotic. Too finely tuned not to care,
not to speak. I was sick but didn’t die.
I was impulsive and bold, but didn’t 
go crazy, and only mildly neurotic.
Now I know why I must keep Grace
in my life. She was the artist who failed,
who had too much guilt and fear to fight
the rigidities in the world around her.
But I can lay my fears to rest. I’ve been
bold and openly loved whom I loved,
and now am speaking every truth I
see, and I know I’m sane. Furthermore
people listen. The orchid in my window
gives me a new bloom every day, and

my mind’s depths offer revelations.


Christmas 1944, Left to right: Mother (Margaret), Grace, Mrs. Mary Shannon, Judy (age 6), Esther Beth Shannon Rogers, Margaret Elaine (Margie), on side porch of my Roys grandparents' home in Norman, Oklahoma.

See blog for April 16 (above) to order Grace: A China Diary, 1910-16.
Update on sales info. It's available now both in paperback ($26) and in e-book (Kindle for $9.99) on Amazon. Also on Amazon UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, India, Japan, Italy and Mexico. You can buy at, too
For a signed copy from Judy Hogan, send $30 to Hogan, PO Box 253, Moncure, NC 27559-0253. for more info.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Grace: A China Diary, 1910-16 is published

Those Eternally Linked Lives 8 April 16, 2017

On the occasion of the publishing of Grace: A China Diary, 
1910-16 on April 12, 2017

Last night the first orchid bloomed, and
outside green was winning again: trees, 
grass, fruit trees, seedlings, and healthy 
weeds. Everything reborn, and I rise from
dreams that took me somewhere else until
I forgot this world, today, and how Easter
brings blooms. I have a good life, my own. 
I took risks over and over. Wherever I 
went, I found people to love, and now 
I’m rich in friends. My writings are coming 
into print, and my friends are buying 
my books. I wanted to understand 
Grandmother Grace’s life, and now I do. 
My friends want to understand, too. Grace’s 
sorrow took her mind away and others 
inherited fear, fear of losing their minds. 
I had fear, too, but I stayed my course, 
kept up my courage, trusted my deep Self. 
My wish and my kindness opened doors 
others found locked and barred. I’ve 
brought Grace and Harvey back to life,
not without pain and fear, but we’re
assuaged now. My health holds. When
dreams take me away from myself, I
always return. I’m okay, now and 
forever, and so is Grace.


The mothers' group (ISC) who started the Hillcrest School in Nanking for foreign children. Grace holding baby Margaret, my mother, is second  from left. 1913.


GRACE: A China Diary, 1910-6 edited and annotated by Judy Hogan. 
Authors: Grace and Harvey Roys. Wipf and Stock, Eugene, Oregon. 
ISBN: 978-1-5326-0939-8. Paperback: $26.


“This thoroughly annotated five-year diary, including contemporary accounts of the retreat colony Kuling and schools in Nanking, provides rich and illuminating primary documentation toward understanding the daily personal, family, social and professional lives of American educators and missionaries in early 20th century China, the native culture in which they devoted themselves, and their influence on subsequent generations. A graceful window on the lives of Westerners and Chinese alike.” J. Samuel Hammond, Duke University.

“Grace, a rich portrait of missionary life in early 20th century China, is told through diary entries, photos, narratives, and an epilogue by Judy Hogan, editor and annotator of her grandmother’s diary. Most poignant for me, as a former missionary child, is Hogan’s appreciation of Grace’s difficult transition from the China where she spent her first 32 years to the United States where her mental illness took flight.”–Nancy Henderson-James, author of Home Abroad: An American Girl in Africa

Orders to: Judy Hogan, PO Box 253, Moncure, NC 27559. $30, includes tax and postage.

Other places to buy Grace: 
The publisher via their website by April 22:
Amazon; in two-four weeks, by May 10, 2017
Ingram: in four weeks, May 10, 2017
Kindle: 3-6 months from April 12. ISBN: 978-1-5326-0940-4

The hardback will also be available at some point: ISBN: 978-1-5326-0941-1


The Roys children in 1917 Dick, Gracie, and Margaret, Nanking, China

Sunday, April 9, 2017

No More Coal Ash in Moncure

Judy Hogan and Sheila Crump following Gospel Sing at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, January 2016.

It is with great joy that I write that our two local groups, Chatham Citizens Against Coal Dump(CCACAD), and EnvironmentaLEE (E-LEE) have won our court case against the dumping of coal ash in our Moncure community, in Brickhaven as of March 31,2017. Judge Fox of the Superior Court in Chatham ruled in our favor. Here’s the gist from his opinion:

From the last page – the DECISION:
1. The Final Decision is AFFIRMED as it relates to the use of the areas already mined or otherwise excavated in the two coal ash disposal sites (Brickhaven and Colon Road), and
2. The Final Decision is REVERSED as to areas not already mined or otherwise excavated, and the two mine reclamation permits were issued improperly by the Respondents and are hereby REVOKED. 


John Wagner and Judy following Gospel Sing, January 2016, holding gift tray made by Dean Tipton.

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, our parent group, backed us all the way. Their employee, Therese Vick, who has been helpful from the beginning in December 2014, has issued a press release. Here is part of it.

Judy Hogan, president of Chatham Citizens Against coal Ash Dump said that Judge Fox’s decision “gives me great pleasure in so many ways. We watched our comments at open hearings being ignored, the permits to do this being given rapidly, and the trucks running, then the trains, but we kept saying to our skeptics; “It’s not a done deal!”  E-LEE co-chair Marsha Ligon echoed Hogan. “Good things come to those who wait; we are thrilled that Judge Carl Fox ruled in our favor agreeing that the plans for future use of the Colon and Brickhaven clay pits cannot be entirely considered an act of reclamation.”
BREDL organizer Therese Vick stressed that “not one more shovel of dirt should be moved at either site. The DEQ improperly issued the mining reclamation permits, and they knew it. ...The DEQ is under new leadership. It is time for Secretary Michael Regan to right his injustice, and stop trying to defend the indefensible.”

Our CCACAD meeting Friday night, April 7, at the Liberty Chapel annex building in Moncure, celebrating our victory. Photo taken by Donna Strickland.
Judy’s poem this Sunday morning, April 9:

Those Eternally Linked Lives 7 April 9, 2017
For Judge Carl Fox

You were told to hang on, and you did.
It took patience and a great faith to
sustain hope that a huge, rich public
utility company could be defeated by 
a handful of determined citizens. You
worried for their health. Too many were 
already sick and getting sicker from
coal ash toxins in the air. Wells were
poisoned. Risks were taken with
drinking water. All around us the
skeptics were immovable. “It’s a done
deal.” We were considered controversial
for demanding justice. Then a wise and
thoughtful judge told the truth. Dumping
coal ash was wrong; you have to stop.
No more trucks and trains, cutting trees
and digging holes. Your permits are
revoked.  I was stunned yet I saw for
the first time since this plan emerged:
truth and justice alive at last in a
court of law. The constitution remembered.
“Liberty and justice for all.” We hugged
and told stories Ten of us who’d been
faithful, but many more helped, prayed,
gave us space to meet, to sing, sent
money for our lawyer. This small group
of concerned and committed citizens
did change a wrong to a right. We’re
alert now. Best if the huge, rich, public
utility company sets aside its tricks 
and begins to consider justice for its 
customers and truth from its employees.

It’s not too late.


Judy with sign made by Martha Girolami March 2015.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Carolyn Mulford: Interview re Show Me the Sinister Snowman

Show Me the Sinister Snowman, by Carolyn Mulford, Cave Hollow Press, March 2017, 290 pp.; trade paperback, $14.95; Kindle, $3.99; ISBN: 978-0-9713497-9-7; Library of Congress Control Number: 2016960483; paperback edition available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble,, and Ingram.

Carolyn, you had a long career as a magazine editor and freelancer. When and why did you decide to switch to writing mysteries?

I wanted to write fiction from the time I learned to read, but journalism offered a much better way to make a living. Besides, I enjoy coming up with ideas, researching them, analyzing information, and finding the right words and structure to share that information. Don’t let anyone tell you writing good nonfiction doesn’t require creativity.

When a new generation of women mystery writers gained attention in the 1980s, I became a serious mystery reader for the first time. Early in the 21st century, I decided that what I wanted to do most was write mysteries, novels that focus on how everyday people deal with crisis, stimulate and entertain intelligent readers, and assure justice wins. I came up with an idea for a series, took courses on writing mysteries, and became part of a critique group. I was committed. 

By the way, my sleuths often use reporters’ techniques in their investigations.

Explain the basic idea for the series, including the ongoing characters and the setting. Have you stuck to that idea through your new fifth book?

Two strands of my life came together as I was searching for an idea big enough for a series. One strand sprang from the outing of CIA covert operative Valerie Plame, endangering her and even casual friends and ending her career. I related to the situation. While working in Vienna, Austria, during the Cold War, I’d discovered that a good friend led an operative’s dangerous double life. The other strand grew from interacting with high school classmates at reunions and planning to move back to my home state, Missouri. 

I wove these strands together to create the economically depressed town of Laycock and three ongoing characters: Phoenix Smith, a wounded former CIA covert operative; Annalynn Carr Keyser, a just-widowed civic leader; and Connie Diamante, a struggling singer/music teacher. These three women grew up together, lived very different lives for more than 30 years, and reunite in their hometown as each faces a major life crisis. 

In the first book, Show Me the Murder, Phoenix reluctantly agrees to help Annalynn find out the truth about her husband’s violent death. Conventional law-and-order Annalynn wangles a temporary appointment as sheriff to get access to the evidence and police resources. Armed and dangerous, Phoenix disregards laws and applies her tradecraft to a parallel investigation. Connie insists on using her theatrical talent to assist them. The three form a good crime-fighting team because of their varied skills, conflicting attitudes, and common goals.

Phoenix rescues and adopts another valuable team member, a Belgian Malinois and K-9 dropout named Achilles.

The old friends and their relationships change slightly from book to book as they continue to investigate murders and rebuild their lives. By the fifth book, Show Me the Sinister Snowman, Annalynn has completed her term as sheriff. Each woman is moving on with her life, but they continue to answer requests to help individuals and the police with unusual cases.

I’m puzzled by the mixture of cynicism and compassion in Phoenix Smith, the former covert operative.  What prompted you to give her these contrasting characteristics?

Exploring the inner life of this daring, action-addicted woman fascinates me. (I’m more an observer than a doer.) Returning to her insular hometown after spending many years in Europe forces her to deal with her internal conflicts as well as with her differences with old friends. 

Phoenix grew up in a financially strapped but loving family that stressed personal loyalty and community service. She joined the CIA after her cheating husband shook her assumptions about people. For years she led two lives, with her work as an expert on Eastern European economies as a cover for her CIA assignments. Her dual career required great intelligence, courage, energy, and self-confidence. And it complicated her relationships. Survival required her to deceive friends, colleagues, and sources. 

As a covert operative, she saw greed, incompetence, and treason much more often than idealism. She dealt with scum and accepted that the ends justify the means. Coming home, she regards almost everyone except Annalynn, her lifelong friend, with distrust and skepticism, but compassion kicks in as Phoenix sees innocent individuals being hurt. These include a woman enduring elder abuse in Show Me the Gold, a little girl whose mother is imprisoned in Show Me the Ashes, and a teenager fleeing a violent husband in Show Me the Sinister Snowman. 

I love the dog, Achilles, and how he and Phoenix relate to and rely on each other. Have other readers responded the same way?

Yes, many readers tell me how much they like Achilles. He functions not only as a pet but as a comforter and sidekick. He brings out her softer side, and she encourages him to use his skills. He becomes secure enough to dispute her judgment. For example, he pulls her back when she’s rushing into danger, and he barks his disapproval when she’s impatient with her friends.

Tell us about the road to publication for this series.

I sold the first book after pitching it to a Five Star editor at Killer Nashville in 2011. The first and second books, Show Me the Murder and Show Me the Deadly Deer, came out at the beginning and end of 2013 in hardback and e-book. Five Star released the third book, Show Me the Gold, in December 2015. Harlequin Worldwide Mystery has published paperback editions of all three.
Then came a bump in the road. Five Star delayed the publication of all its mysteries in late 2015 and then announced it was phasing out its mystery line. (That kind of thing happens much more often than readers realize.) Show Me the Ashes didn’t come out until March 2016, by which time I was looking for a publisher for Show Me the Sinister Snowman. Cave Hollow Press released that book March 31 as a trade paperback and an e-book.

What other books have you published?

Before I switched to fiction, I wrote five nonfiction books (all out of print), including a travel book, a biography, and a how-to book on financial fitness for teens. 

My first published novel, a YA historical called The Feedsack Dress, came out almost 10 years ago. Last year marked the publication of another YA historical, Thunder Beneath My Feet. It takes place during the devastating New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812. Many people outside the states most afflicted (Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana) don’t know about the quakes, but online reports show tremors still occur almost daily.

What are you writing now?

I’m rewriting the first book of a series with a less lethal protagonist than my ex-spy. I may write some short stories featuring Phoenix and Achilles. 

Former CIA operative Phoenix Smith must play detective again when her K-9 dropout sniffs out a murder weapon at the scene of a congressman’s “accidental” death. Who tried to hide a homicide? She suspects either a corrupt political insider or an enraged abusive husband. Determined to prevent more murders. Phoenix goes with her friend Annalynn, an aspiring candidate, to a political gathering at the late congressman’s isolated antebellum mansion. A blizzard traps them there with three suspects dissembling inside and the sinister snowman lurking outside.

Carolyn Mulford set out to be a writer shortly after becoming a reader in a one-room school in Missouri. She postponed her writing career to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia. That experience fostered a fascination with other cultures that led her to work as a nonfiction writer and editor on four continents. She moved from nonfiction to fiction and from Washington, D.C., to Columbia, Missouri, in 2007, the year her first published novel, The Feedsack Dress, came out. Show Me the Sinister Snowman is her seventh novel and twelfth book. To read the first chapters of her novels, go to

Buy Links

News Flash: Five Star put her first four e-books on Overdrive. You can download them.