Please enjoy these beautiful photographs from Cindy Knoke!

Harris Hawks lift off from my glove, soar straight up in the sky to fly, and land precisely back with Jim. Flying hawks is incredible. Lethal precision hunters, they are woe to birdies in the sky, and critters fleeing on the ground. They are savage beauties, and magnificent creatures. Cheers to you from the Harris…

Source: Flight~

What Is A Book That You Love?




I am a teacher, a writer, and a lover of books. I cannot remember a time when I could not read, and the simple act of reading a book is one of the best pleasures in life.  So, I was thinking today about a book, one of my all time favorites: The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, that I have taught often, both at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA and Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. This novel is brilliant, funny, witty, Gothic, romantic, and deeply engaging.  Can you tell I love it?

Here is a quotation from the back cover of the paperback:

“Wondrous . . . masterful . . . The Shadow Of The Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero.”

— Entertainment Weekly, Editor’s Choice

So, I ask you: what is one of your favorite books?


Hector Fox at the Eric Carle Museum, and More


Please enjoy this wonderful post from the excellent teacher, Jennie!

A Teacher's Reflections

Few museums give patrons an up-close, personal experience.  The Eric Carle Museum in Massachusetts is a master at doing just that.  Their three rotating exhibits are grounded in the best art of illustrators, and patrons can be inches away from their favorite books.  I have seen brush strokes, pencil outlines, thick paint, and even linoleum from the art of my favorite children’s books.

There’s more.  Artists visit and give readings and presentations.  This week Astrid Sheckels, author of the popular Hector Fox books, was at the museum with her latest book.  I was there!

Hector Fox and his friends (all animals native to New England- including a marten) have adventures.  The illustrations are glorious, detailed, and draw the reader in.  The text is exciting, with challenging words that keep the reader hooked.  For example, Hector’s first book is the Giant Quest.  Yes, ‘quest’, just the word I want my preschoolers…

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Carnival Chaos and Lenten Sacrifice


Please enjoy this fascinating post!

Bonjour From Brittany

Although perhaps not as closely observed here as in the past, the approach of the period known to Christians as Lent was long marked with festivities and licence; a storm before the calm of six weeks solemn observance marked by self-discipline, abstinence and spiritual reflection that conclude with the celebration of Easter.

Traditionally, one of the most marked days of this week was Shrove Tuesday, popularly known as Mardi-Gras in France. It is quite likely that the festive nature of the day has its initial roots in the pagan celebrations that once marked the end of Winter and heralded the coming of Spring; long standing seasonal celebrations that morphed with the Matronalia feasts of the Roman Empire before later becoming Christianized to mark the start of Lent in the 4th century.

Carnival - Mardi Gras - Easter traditions - Brittany - France

Lent, the forty days before Easter, begins on Ash Wednesday and recalls the forty years spent in…

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A March Wish For Writers




Can you believe it is the beginning of March already? Winter is almost over, even though where I live it has been almost unbelievably mild, and Spring will soon be here. I know it is a function of age, but it does truly seem that time is racing by!

With that thought in mind, I simply wanted to wish all writers a productive month of writing. Remember to take your writing in chunks, first a day at a time, then a week, and then a month.

Also, keep in mind that if you write only 250 words a day, that by the end of one year, you will have completed a full first draft of a book!

Don’t stop, don’t give up, and always believe in yourself.

Happy Writing!



A Review of Lion Scream by Robbie Cheadle



I received this book and read it in one sitting. It is staggering in its beauty and message. Robbie Cheadle has crafted an excellent book, filled with syllabic poetry, commentary, and a short story. Taken as a whole, this text is an important lesson on the impact of humanity on the wildlife of Southern Africa and, by extension, the rest of the world.

“Lion Scream”, the title of the book and one of the poems within, is my favorite. It is short but deeply impactful. Cheadle shows her talent with words as she creates this poem, and then many others in a fascinating form called the Double Enead, which has 99 syllables.

Cheadle’s book is a masterpiece! I do not use these words lightly or easily, but this book moved me emotionally and intellectually. I was shaken and in tears while I read it. As a man of my age and generation, I am not given to crying easily, but Cheadle’s words staggered me with their power, their beauty, and their message.

I recommend it to anyone who loves poetry, cares about global climate change, animals, and the craft of using words to create messages.

This book is a must read! I encourage everyone to get it as soon as possible. I hope the world soon learns of this extraordinary, beautiful, and excellent work.

What book(s) are you reading?




I have spent the majority of my time on this blog writing about writing, so I thought I would address the most fundamental and most important part of this experience with books: reading.

I have been reading my entire life; in fact, I cannot remember a time when I did not read. And reading has informed my life in many ways, not only in terms of career but also in the joys of life itself.

I read books, I teach them, and I write about them, but mostly, I enjoy them. I remember my mother telling me when I was very little that you can go many places that you might not ever have a chance to visit, real and made up, if you read. And I have visited and continue to journey to real and fantastic lands.



I am not a reading snob. While I teach college English Literature, I read in a very wide range, from adventure and horror to drama and so-called high literature, although I am not so certain that this distinction is accurate. Both Shakespeare and Dickens were considered popular writers in their time. Hemingway straddled the mythical fence of literature and genre writing. Today, I happily read authors in a multitude of genres, including Stephen King and John Connolly, among many others. So, I read whatever I choose, in any area. And I get great pleasure from the reading.

I am currently reading, as I usually do, several books, including A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny, Twilight Of The Gods by Ian W. Toll, and Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt.



Happy Reading!

And a quick question: what is a book you are currently reading?

Harried Heron~


Please enjoy these wonderful photographs from Cindy Knoke!

Doesn’t appreciate the prickly bird guard. But herons, are not deterred, by thorns. They dance on them! Other critters, will shy away, but herons are here to stay! Cheers to you from the thorn dancing egrets~ Note: Snowy Egrets are members of the Heron family.

Source: Harried Heron~

Quotations On Censorship




“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.”

                                                                   Henry Louis Gates Jr.



“Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book…”
Dwight D. Eisenhower



“Having the freedom to read and the freedom to choose is one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me.”

                                                                    Judy Blume


( By Moritz Daniel Oppenheim)

“Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”

                                                                     Heinrich Heine


“In our current political climate, in which some politicians openly state their plans to ban books, it is time for those of us who love books and who honor and cherish the freedom to choose our reading, to oppose their censorship. Let our voices be heard. Stand up against censorship. Always remember that book banning is the act of a tyrant or someone who would be a tyrant.”

                                                               Charles F. French

Prize-Winning Story: “Henrietta’s Saving Grace”


Please join me in congratulating Elizabeth Gauffreau on this award!

Elizabeth Gauffreau

Click Here to Read the Story in Coneflower Cafe (PDF, p. 3)

Am I Excited? Yes, I’m Excited!

I am thrilled to share that my short story “Henrietta’s Saving Grace” has won the 2022 Ben Nyberg contest sponsored by Choeofpleirn Press. The story was inspired one of my great-great aunts from Nova Scotia, who went by the nickname “Jen.”

I’d known early on from my mother that Aunt Jen had been a practical nurse and a closet drinker. In the final years of my mother’s life, she shared a few more choice tidbits about Aunt Jen’s life that were too good not to build a story around.

With apologies and all due respect to the late Aunt Jen, Henrietta was born, bringing her saving grace along with her.

The Inevitable Rejections

I sent the story out four times before it was accepted for publication by Coneflower Cafe, and the…

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