What My Friends Are Up To...


Dale, my former neighbor, used to say, “Where I come from, keeping your garage door closed is just plain rude.” The same principle applies to the internet. Here are few links to the work of my wonderfully creative friends. I love your words!

Sugar and Dirt: Memoirs of a Tortoise by Fernando Prol

Sugar and Dirt CoverSugar and Dirt is the inspiring coming-of-age story of a young émigré during one of the stormiest eras in recent American history. F.P. Romero’s stirring memoirs begin in Cuba, where his affluent family loses everything to Fidel Castro’s revolution and is forced to flee with scarcely more than the clothes on their backs. Having to start over in Miami, the family struggles with refugee life but resolves to pursue the American Dream.

F.P. describes his idyllic years at the elite McCullough Academy, his departure from McCullough, and his startling descent into a world of violence and malice. His reckless decline into drug-fueled dissipation threatens to consume him until a girl and a chance discovery change his life forever. Told with a unique blend of wit, candor, and pathos, Sugar and Dirt recounts F.P.‘s early life of privilege, his tragic fall from grace, and his hard-earned redemption.

The River’s Memory by Sandra Gail Lambert

cvr“Sandra Gail Lambert has an ear for the poetry of voices, the music of land, and the roar of history.”  Tayari Jones

“Here are stories from the boneyard of the Florida peninsula, digging deep and calling out old spirits.”  Janisse Ray

“The writing – over and over again – is beautiful, transcendent, and engaging.”  Connie May Fowler

Called “a simply outstanding novel” by the Midwest Book Review and “revelatory of women’s lives” by Booklist, Sandra Gail Lambert’s The River’s Memory (Twisted Road) is available from your local bookstore as well as in both print and e-book editions from online retailers.

Full Moon Rising by Valerina Quintana

Full Moon Rising Cover Valerina Quintana

Valerina Quintana has given the world a collection of poems full of sensuality and spirit–the powerful, searching voice of a woman unafraid to bear witness to what hurts us and heals us.  This book is a marvel, a joy to read.–Demetria Martinez

Valerina is the traveler-poet who calls us homeward.  Her diversity of imagery–angels, butterlfy wings & snow–delight & surprise the reader.  Her poetics of home will take the reader from “inside out” with visceral imagery:  a mother’s red shirt, blood, a snow woman built from maternal clothes.–Rita Magdaleno

To purchase Full Moon Rising or Recalling Home, contact the author at quintana@email.arizona.edu.

Recalling Home: A Poetry of Rememberance by Valerina Quintana 

VQBook cover Recalling Home

Valerina’s new collection prizes familia stories, from early Colorado days, days of wood burning stoves, piñón, chile verde, brujo tales, presence of wind, earth and clay.  And of the lives, most of all, of the early-day families.  We slip into the night with the story-poems, in our desert-body we embrace the Whiptail Lizard, we listen to her secrets and we ride, too, in fast, rough Camaro’s across the outscapes of Colorado space.  In the center of the collection we shift to short-line meditations cut into tapestry-like diamonds–an unpredictable poetics.  I am reminded of work by Raul Salinas, Jim Sagel and Evangelina Vigil, pioneers of travel, land-memoirs and people story.  I treasure this work.  It is a Colt-45 pistol by a midnight pillow, the sparkle of a dark stove ready for visions.  A magnificent book, bravo! –Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2015.

The Natural Law of Water by Kathleen Culver

The Natural Laws of Water Cover by Kathleen Culver croppedPoetry. LGBT Studies. Kathleen Culver’s exquisitely crafted poems will enchant you like beautiful music on a misty Florida night. They will move you from deep belly laughs to tears. Culver, a longtime champion for peace, the environment, and legendary Southern feminist has inspired hundreds over the years to live their dreams. Pick up this book and let it dance into your heart.

“Lucky us, to have Kathleen Culver’s poems gathered here at last—new music of an old soul, magnificently alive and curious. Nothing here is jaded or ungenerous; nothing is secondhand. Culver’s poems bring fresh news of the world and the surprising variety of ways to love it. Reading her makes me feel more human and more hopeful. Best of all, her language speaks American and loves to play.”—Joan Larkin

Kathleen Culver lives in a log cabin on a lake with eagles, egrets, herons, and her cat, Pele. Her mother was an English teacher, her father a poet. Culver has a Ph.D. in English & American Literature, writing both her Master’s thesis and Ph.D. dissertation on Henry David Thoreau. She taught English at the University of Florida, University of North Florida, and Santa Fe Community College. Active in support of the environment, the arts, feminism and peace, Culver also enjoys camping, hiking, kayaking, dancing and playing music with her friends.

Attuned: Healing Your Creative & Intuitive Brain by Jeanne Bjorn

Attuned by Jeanne BjorgAttuned is a passionate and artful book about Healing Your Creative & Intuitive Brain. Many books on the brain, help you to have better memory or focus. This book helps you to live a fuller, richer and more vibrant life through easily accessible fun and playful modalities – such as singing, dancing and animal communication – to heal your intuitive and creative brain.

Jeanne’s book Attuned, addresses the important questions: How did our brain get out of balance? What effects does this have on your primary relationships? How can your brain be balanced through choosing the right foods? How does emotional clearing heal the brain? What fun, playful things can we do each day to bring our brains into balance? In doing these easily accessible exercises, we can have more ease in our lives, make better decisions and be an actor rather than a reactor.

Night Mare: A Mystery by Franci McMahon

Night Mare by Franci McMahonJane Scott seems luckier than most. Inherited money and her profession as a journalist have placed her in a milieu she deeply loves, the world of championship horses. Yet she has reached a dark crossroads, one all too familiar. another lesbian relationship is coming to its predictable end. And the television images of the headline-making death of her parents continue, all these years later, to haunt her. Jane has been investigating a cruel scandal in her world, the theft and/or killing of prized horses for their insurance value. When she accompanies her best friend to evaluate an Arabian horse, Jane knows its price is too cheap–way too cheap. Shockingly, she is embroiled in a devastating murder, for which she blames herself. A murder that hurls her into the orbit of a beautiful, wild-spirited mare named Night and takes her to Montana. There Jane  meets a woman who penetrates her well-guarded self.

Staying the Distance: A Mystery by Franci McMahon

Staying the Distance by Franci McMahonStaying the Distance, a literate, lovable western, is set in the big sky, “no whiners” country of Montana. Rachel Duncan is a rancher with a passion for horses as tough and smart as she is. Especially for her mare, Kestrel, soon to be tested over the rugged terrain of a hundred-mile endurance race. But when Dr. Margaret Carson – the new veterinarian just move from back East – pulls up in her truck, Rachel’s emotional vistas begin to widen. The grey mare snorted her nostrils free of dust.  Rachel Duncan let her stand and blow at the top of the ridge while she looked over the ranch for signs of the veterinarian’s arrival. Fanci McMahon, a western native, brings her passion for horses into gripping stories, appealing even to those born without the horse gene. She lives and writes on a Montana horse ranch. At last, women have a novel about girls and horses!

And from the Artist’s Corner…

To most writers, one word is worth a thousand pictures. The word “love” evokes a river of emotions. Words are powerful talismans invoking the inner doings of the soul. What would life be without words? Then, there are instances in which one image is worth a thousand words. And such images can create a mood that inspires to write, sing, tell a tale, or compose.

The Secret Life of Light by Linda Griffith

Linda Griffit The Secret Life of Light - Book Cover

The Secret Life of Light is a collection of seventy-five images in three portfolios created during a year-long solitary journey to the Arctic Ocean. Photographed in 2008-2009 and completed in 2014, these places can never be revisited, the devastation of climatic change being fiercely underway and the extraordinary play of light with land and soul, already, irreversibly diminished. It has taken years to bring these images into public view, not just due to the sheer volume of photographs created and considered, but because of the strict editorial necessity of restraint: minimal adjustment out of respect for the landscape’s own delicate voice. The power of this work is in its purity through which the vibrational spirit transforms the viewer in a hypnotic dance beyond the veil.
In 2000, Linda Griffith was heralded by a jury of New York City curators as “One of the most talented emerging artists at the turn of the century and the millennium.” Born in 1951 in Rockledge, Pennsylvania,  and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Master’s degree in clinical social work, her fine art photography has received many awards from esteemed jurors including Katherine Ware, Curator of Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; International Photography Forum and the International Women’s History Project. Founder of the Wilma Theatre,  an anchor institution on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, and twice playwright winner of the Maine Short Play Festival award, Griffith’s success as a photographer is richly imbued with a sense of imminence harkening from her intrinsic understanding of theatre. Her voice is fearless in the milieux of both social commentary where work condemning environmental abuse was defended by the National Coalition Against Censorship when removed from a gallery due to it’s disturbing confrontational nature. Equally haunting is her voice in it’s more ethereal reaches through the veils of spiritual resonance in recent acetic and desert landscapes. With images housed at the State University of New York, Museum of Modern Art Franklin Furnace Artist’s Book collection, University of Maine and in numerous private collections, Griffith’s studio in Tucson, Arizona, is  ground zero for ever more sensitive explorations of time and the unseen, unsettling presence that consistently manifests in her images.

On Friendship, Light, and Inspiration…

Earlier this year, I had the honor to attend two private photo shows from this collection at the artist home in Tucson. Linda’s journey and her deep attunement with nature evokes the work of Rachel Louise Carson and Henry David Thoreau. The stunning and awe inspiring photography from her year-long journey to the Arctic Ocean haunts the imagination and stirs the soul as it takes one into the depths of The Secret Life of Light.

These are the people who inspire me to write!