Southwest Desert~


Please enjoy these lovely photographs from Cindy Knoke!

Cindy Knoke



Because here they are!

Hanging out with their very outgoing chicks.

There were Australian swans,

snoozing with Canadian Geese.

in ponds,

in Nevada and California.

Cheers to you from the happy birdies~

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Journey to a Lost Valley


Please enjoy this wonderful post from John Bainbridge!

Country Ways

Really want to get away from the crowds, and all those walking places that are done to death in the outdoor press and newspaper leisure columns? Want to see some archaeology and history that rarely gets mentioned?

Potts Ford

Yesterday, we were in old Westmorland, walking from Great Asby to what I call the Lost Valley of Potts; one of the most scenic places in the county. Along the way we passed farmhouses and old barns, seemingly untouched by time. Saw archaeology dating back to the Iron Age. And in all the near nine miles, we didn’t see another walker – just a couple of villagers and a farmer tending his sheep. This is a bit of land that is mostly walked by locals. Visitors are few and far between.

Romano-British Farm at Holborn Hill

Once upon a time, before the enclosures and the building of the drystone walls, this…

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More Quotations On Reading!




“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”



Frederick Douglass, ca. 1879. George K. Warren. (National Archives Gift Collection)


“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Frederick Douglass


“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
Jacqueline Kennedy


“Reading is the essential nourishment to the imagination and the soul.”

                                                                               Charles F. French

Remember to keep reading!

Quotations on Dictatorships




“Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited.”

                                                                     John F. Kennedy



“Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.”

                                                                     Jorge Luis Borges



“You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home — all the more powerful because forbidden — terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.”


“Dictators are cowards and bullies. They control others through abuse, weapons, and fear, but they are the ones who are truly afraid, as they should be. They should be terrified of those who oppose them, who are willing to stand up against them, and are willing to fight them.”

                                                                              Charles F. French

March Self-Promotion Party!




Hello to everyone! We are now in Spring, and I thought it would be a good time to share what you have been writing and what you have written. I want once again to offer an opportunity for all writers who follow this blog to share information on their books. It can be very difficult to generate publicity for our writing, so I thought this little effort might help. All books may be mentioned, and there is no restriction on genre. This includes poetry and non-fiction.

To participate, simply give your name, your book, information about it, and where to purchase it in the comments section. Then please be willing to reblog and/or tweet this post. The more people that see it, the more publicity we can generate for everyone’s books.

Thank you for participating!

Keep on writing!


Celebrate and promote your writing! Shout it out to the world! Let everyone know about your work!

Feel free to promote a new or an older book!

I hope this idea is successful, and I hope many people share information on their books!

I will continue to have this party every few weeks.

Available on Amazon


Get The Draft Done! is available here:


Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.


Please follow the following links to find my novel:


Print book

Thank you!

My radio interview:



Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

Beautiful Writing: Part 2: Shakespeare





I am happy to return to this series about writing that has beauty in it. 

I would certainly be avoiding the truth and not doing duty to writing if I did not include in this series the man who is certainly the best and most important writer in English Drama and Literature: William Shakespeare.

In full disclosure, I am a Shakespearean. I have made the study of his work one of my areas of my Ph.D. in English, I have taught Shakespeare many times, I have presented papers on Shakespeare, and I have directed and acted in his plays. So, I do come with a particular bias, but I maintain that his work is the core of English Literature.

You certainly do not have to agree with me.

I will offer a few examples:

Sonnet 116

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”


Henry V (Act 4. Scene 3. Lines 21-70)


“What’s he that wishes so?

My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:

If we are mark’d to die, we are enow

To do our country loss; and if to live,

The fewer men, the greater share of honour.

God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,

Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;

It yearns me not if men my garments wear;

Such outward things dwell not in my desires:

But if it be a sin to covet honour,

I am the most offending soul alive.

No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:

God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour

As one man more, methinks, would share from me

For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!

Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

Let him depart; his passport shall be made

And crowns for convoy put into his purse:

We would not die in that man’s company

That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is called the feast of Crispian:

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,

And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,

Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,

And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.

And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’

Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,

But he’ll remember with advantages

What feats he did that day: then shall our names.

Familiar in his mouth as household words

Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,

Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,

Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remember’d;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”


Hamlet (Act 5. Scene 2. Lines 206-211)


“Not a whit, we defy augury: there’s a special

 providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,

 ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be

 now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the

 readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he

 leaves, what is’t to leave betimes?”

A Review of Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 1 by Charles F. French

Elizabeth Gauffreau

Reviewed in the United States on January 4, 2022

Charles F. French’s debut novel, Maledicus, is the first in The Investigative Paranormal Society series. The Society is comprised of three long-time friends, who couldn’t be more different from one another: Sam, a retired police officer, Jeremy, a retired antiques dealer, and Roosevelt, a retired history professor. Their common bond is a compelling interest in life after death. Each man has lost a loved one before his or her time, so their interest in the paranormal is not idle or academic curiosity. The stakes are high, and they’re very personal.

Before we meet Sam, Jeremy, and Roosevelt, the novel opens in ancient Rome with the introduction of one Lucius Antony Caius, a trusted advisor and procuror for the Emperor Caligula. For his own treachery, debauchery, and torture of innocents, he is known as Maledicus. He will become the evil entity with whom the Investigative Paranormal Society must do battle. And an evil one he is!

My favorite parts of the novel were the scenes set in ancient Rome with Maledicus. Anyone who thinks he could be a match for the evil (and insane) Emperor Caligula immediately has my attention. In addition, these scenes were well-researched and executed (pardon the pun).

I was surprised that Caligula dispatched Maledicus so quickly–although I probably shouldn’t have been, given Caligula’s reputation. However, I would like to have spent a bit more time with Maledicus in his earthly incarnation before he was sent howling into the netherworld.

The Investigative Paranormal Society are brought in when Maledicus sets his sights on the five-year-old niece of a local teacher. He proves an intractable enemy for Sam, Jeremy, and Roosevelt, as well as the people they enlist in their fight. In fact, there were several times I was genuinely shocked by what Maledicus did, which for me was one of the biggest strengths of the novel. Although shocking, the horror was not gratuitous or stomach-churning.

I would recommend Maledicus to readers who enjoy horror, the paranormal, and the question of the difference between an evil person and an evil spirit–which I found a fascinating one as I read the novel. If a person can be truly evil, how can this evil outlive its corporeal existence?

Thank you to Elizabeth Gauffreau!

Please be sure to visit her site:

Available on Amazon


Get The Draft Done! is available here:


Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.


Please follow the following links to find my novel:


Print book

Thank you!

My radio interview:



Available on Amazon

French On English

Available on Amazon

Four Seasons of the Wishtree – Photos Framed


Here is a wonderful post by the excellent teacher, Jennie!

A Teacher's Reflections

At last, photos of our Wishtree in every season are framed and gifted to school.
Spring was the beginning.  The wishes are bright and new against a bare tree.
Summer’s deep foliage cannot hide the wishes.
Fall’s colors are beautiful, yet the wishes stand tall.
Winter’s snow and bare branches let the wishes blow.

Wishes are dreams.
Photos are the memories.


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A Review Of House Bird By Robert Fillman


House Bird cover (final)

Robert Fillman’s new book House Bird is an excellent collection of his poetry, and it clearly positions him as one of the best poets in the U. S. A. Mr. Fillman has previously published a chapbook, November Weather Spell, and between both books, he is clearly a top-level poet. His work combines honesty, observation, powerful images, and reflections on life.

Mr. Fillman explores what exists on the surface of life and what goes below it also. This is a powerful confluence that illuminates his experiences as well as how we, the readers, view the world. His poetry explores the ordinary in life and transforms it into the extraordinary.

It is difficult to choose my favorite poems from this collection, because they are all excellent. Still, I would offer “House Bird” which gives the title of the book and “Blessing” as my two favorites, but I emphasize that they are all excellent poems!

If you love poetry, please do yourself a favor, and get this book. You will see that Robert Fillman is an extraordinary poet.



Quotations on Fantasy and Imagination




“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

                                                                        Albert Einstein


(By Source: Scan of photograph by Arthur Strong, Wikipedia)

“One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.”

                                                                        C. S. Lewis



“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape? . . . If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

                                                                      J. R. R. Tolkien


“Tales of imagination and fantasy do not only distract us from the world; rather, they also offer an opportunity to critique our lives, our politics, and our planet as a whole. Such tales are not merely fun; they are essential.”

                                                                     Charles F. French