Tag Archives: #amreading

Voracious, and Novel Cure

16 Nov


My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistYesterday, I went to the SPCA to cancel a pickup appointment I had made for a desk. I’d realized how fond I was of that desk and that I wanted to keep it, so no pickup.

While I was in the thrift store I bought a hard-cover book for a dollar. It’s a romantic suspense novel by Elizabeth Lowell called, Amber Beach. I then went to the library and searched the donation shelves as usual, but this time I found nothing to buy.

In the new books section however, Voracious: A hungry reader cooks her way through great books, by Cara Nicoletti waited. Who wouldn’t want to read about books and food in the same tome? Cara Nicoletti grew up spending time in her grandfather’s butcher shop and eventually became a butcher, baker, (but not candlestick maker) herself. She always loved books and many of the days in the shop were spent sitting behind the cash-register reading. In Voracious she writes about the books she has read and offers her own recipes for many of the dishes she found described there. The first is, “Little House in the Big Woods Breakfast Sausage.” Cara also teaches sausage making classes. I probably will just read the recipes and maybe they’ll change my cooking for the better by osmosis. I do love this type of memoir and this one has everything you could ask for. I took it to the desk and checked it out. It’s good and I recommend it.

When I got home, Novel Cure filled my mail box in a brown wrapper from an Amazon source. I was pretty excited about getting that one. It will last a good long time. It’s so jam-packed with witty writings about novels that I can’t spare the time to count them all. Novel Cure is a bibliotherapy book meant to help people select novels that show characters as either good or bad role models and can help with all kinds of mental and emotional hurricanes. I wasn’t as interested in using it for my personal aberrations as for the enjoyment of reading about books in a book written by witty and educated writers like Ella Berthound and Susan Elderkin. Someday I may run into one of them in a discard situation.

When I pulled the Novel Cure from its envelope I had a decision to make. Which one should I open first? It was like trying to decide whether to have a chocolate sundae with nuts or just a little dish of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Since the Novel Cure is a dense, thick book and I can keep it as long as I want, I decided to go for the library book first. I could read, Elizabeth Lowell’s Amber Beach any time and then if I liked it share it with my neighbor.

I realize that one of my favorite subjects for book is books. I have a yellowed copy of Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Marley, copyright 1917. Of course mine is a later edition. I’ve read it twice and plan to read it again soon. So far it’s my favorite except for one I had by an author I can’t remember (nor can I recall the title) but I can probably find it again someday if I try. Of course none of them is only about books. They’re about characters and what they do and what happens to them. That’s what I like. If they’re well done they’re the memoirs, too, of the people who compiled them.

Another book I’m thrilled with right now is The Singer Trilogy, by Calvin Miller: the mythic retelling of the story of the New Testament. I guess that makes it about a book, doesn’t it? It consists of Singer, The Song, and The Finale. I loved it so much that I have purchased it on Audible so I can listen to it on my phone. I haven’t read anything that so jolted my soul and spirit or that gave me so much hope and encouragement since I started reading the Bible over 60 years ago. I got, The Singer from the church library discard shelf. I couldn’t believe it had been left there. Was it just for me?

At Calvary sung by Linda Randall

Voracious: yummybooks.com (blogs)

Caution to vegetarians, Ms Nicoletti is a butcher and some pictures on the website would be for other butchers to admire. But those of us whose parent was a butcher can probably either enjoy or overlook them.

Electronic Flu

3 Sep

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

Are you retired and feeling burned out? I couldn’t ever imagine feeling that way while I was still  working. Yet that is exactly what happened to me. Each week I spend hours online, being social and learning everything I can about marketing novels. I enjoy doing it, but even a good thing can become overdone. I was certainly overdone.

Fortunately God knows my needs before I do and we were offered the opportunity to cruise  at a very low rate. As time drew closer I went through my eReader selecting books I wanted to read and put them in a collection. By the time I finished, I had forty books for my one week cruise, maybe a bit over optimistic.

On a hot Saturday in August the three of us boarded  the ship and made our first big decision.  We were going to skip the welcome aboard show and spend the time on the upper deck, hoping to see a sunset. (We have cruised many times but have seen very few sunsets, due to dinner and show schedules.)

Well worth missing the show.

Well worth missing the show.

That set the tone for the rest of our vacation. “No Schedules, No Plans” Formal night? Who needs it? We chose alternative dining and had the chance to enjoy talking with the servers and the grilled steak in that venue is way better than the steak in the dining room. I do have to add an addendum here. Rebekah did have a schedule as she had a deadline to meet with her fabulous editor, Clive S Johnson.


Rebekah working to make her deadline.

 By the end of the cruise, we had attended one afternoon show and one movie in the theater. We even skipped all the dining rooms one night and opted for room service.

The best part was being completely unplugged. Instead of internet, I opted for good old-fashioned reading pleasure.

 I had planned to download more books to my device when I went ashore to an internet cafe, but we didn’t bother getting off the ship except for a shore excursion in Jamaica. I didn’t come close to reading forty novels, but five is not too shabby.

The Books

Amelia’s Story by D.G. Torrens

I have been wanting to read this books for ages. The author experienced abuse that no child should ever have to endure from a mother. Yet the story showed me a young girl of great courage and spirit. I am looking forward to reading the sequel which I believe will pick up around age eighteen.

Think by Valerie Howard

After reading Amelia’s Story, I chose Think for my next read and it was a perfect choice after the emotion of Torrens’ novel.  While Amelia  was an outspoken heroine, Nicole, the main character of Think is just the opposite. She is stressed to the max trying to say the right thing and stuffing down her emotions. That is until she meets an odd man at the pharmacy.

Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula by Elise Stokes

This is book one of the Cassidy Jones series. It falls into the Young Adult genre and for several years I put off reading it because I thought it was a kid book. Wrong. YA books are awesome. I read this one out-of-order as I read the fourth book Cassidy Jones and the Luminous first. After reading it, I knew I had to have the whole series.  Cassidy is involved in a lab accident that causes her DNA to mutate. The mutation led to her having supercharged senses and they scared her. I don’t read superhero books but this series is special and readers of any age will enjoy the books. I hope book five will be coming  out in the near future.

Army of the Worn Soles by Scott Bury

Scott is a member of a writing Face Book group, Art Knows No Bounds which I am a member of. We hosted his cover reveal on Rebekah Lyn Books  and I knew as soon as I heard the story behind the book, that I had to read it. For a history fan, the first sentence of the blurb hooked me.

“A Canadian is drafted into the Soviet Red Army in 1941, just in time to be thrown against Nazi Germany’s invasion in Operation Barbarossa.”

The novel is a based on facts Scott gathered from conversations with his father-in-law over a number of years. A popular author I read calls books like this one, “Faction.” It is a fascinating look into the life of an unwilling soldier in the Red Army. It does have strong language, but appropriate in a war setting.

Murder for Glacier Blue by Diane Rapp

This book is part of the author’s High Seas Mysteries series. All the stories are set on cruise ships, so a perfect read! I have read other books in the series and it was fun to reunite with Kayla and Steven, especially since this is their wedding cruise. Of course Kayla and Steven always fall into a mystery and a murder and this book is no exception. I have to confess I am still reading this one. I am feel like I am on the cruise with them and loving the scenery. I am almost to the wedding part and I can’t wait to see how that turns out. Will the horrid ex be a problem, will anyone else die?

. Before the cruise I felt used up. I think I was suffering from “electronic flu.” I believe it is quite common in today’s world. Employers are now considering allowing employees to use their electronic devices while working, thereby enabling the spread of the flu. Is there a cure? Yes, find a quiet place and read a good book!

My next read is Burnt Secrets by Barbara Martin. I planned to read it on the cruise but I  hadn’t downloaded it to my device. It is set in the Smoky Mountains (My favorite place) and I am sure it will be a good read.

Random photos

The Space Race Part

24 Jun

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane



I started teaching my kids and grandkids all about things related to rocketry and aviation early in their lives. Since I was part of the U.S. Space Program when my children were growing up, they got a heavy dose of rocketry. My son built and flew his first model rocket at age 9 or 10. We went on to enjoy that hobby together for years to come.


When the grandkids came along, the aviation bug that had bit their granddad, in his early years, was still there to infect them while they were young and spending monthly weekends with Grandmother & Granddad. Of course, my son and I had to teach my grandson the art and joy of model rocketry as well, during his teen years (and you know the youngsters are the ones who have the energy to chase the errant model airplanes and model rockets).


I hope you can forgive me for digressing some from my original subject. But, this blog is a quick overview of how “Aviation” and the “Space Race” have influenced and directed my life and work over the 35 of my Aerospace career. And, overall, how those same interests and desires have continued to influence my life to this very day.   I’m just as determined to experience as many “Aviation” related things (museums & airshows) today as I was when I was a teenager. In fact, every time an airplane flies over our house, I can’t resist looking up to see if my first guess as to what type of airplane it is (by the engine sound) was right or not. And then there are the periodic rocket launches that wake us up at all hours of the night. We have to jump up, grab the binoculars, and follow its fiery trail until it is out of sight. I’ve heard it said, “Some people never grow up.”   I guess I must be one of them.



—–The End—–

Minute Meditations~9

14 Jun


Judy WillsJUDY



How do you connect with people? If you are in a business, you probably have some sort of “plan” to connect with people who could be your customers. We see ads in the newspaper and on the TV all the time for businesses selling their particular product. We see ads looking for people to work with a specific company, or in a specific position.

I’ve heard of people who attend benefits or parties or some such event just so they can “network” the system, and benefit themselves or their company.

But what is your connection to the one and only true living God? Is it an Easter and Christmas connection? Is it a once-a-month connection? Or is it a genuine, life-sustaining, personal relationship with God?

My brother Bill wrote about this recently. Here are his thoughts:


Our connection to God is, quite simply, the only way we can live this life with any purpose or satisfaction. It allows us to walk upright without staggering or tripping or falling down. There may be bumps in the road, but if we keep our eyes on that connection to God, He will keep us from falling flat on our faces. He will help us see the direction we need to take – to be His children.

We are blest, indeed.

Pass the Potatoes

18 Feb

.My Take

DiVoran Lites

jungle divoran

When I wrote my first novel, Sacred Spring, I studied every aspect of writing, publishing and marketing. Some of it stuck and some of it didn’t, but still I tried to follow all the rules. These included learning to write so well, that like cream, you would rise to the top. You had to join a writing group, so I started one, you had to write, write, write. I have a closet full of journals to show for that and I’m glad of it. You had to learn copy-editing, and I attended a class for years with the best copy-editor around. You went to writers’ conferences, and after multiple submissions on your own, you folded and got an agent. Been there, done all that.

I received heartfelt encouragement from everyone who read my work. One person compared it with Bach’s, “Two-Part Invention.” If I hadn’t had a favorable reception, would I have stopped writing? No, I was born to write. I know that now, just as I was born to cook. I gave up trying to publish, for a while, though.

Then one day I had the blessing of running into a young woman whom I’d known all her life, Rebekah Lyn. Her, dear mother, Onisha Ellis, had told me that Rebekah, a professional writer, had always wanted to write a novel. I was ready to write a new one too, so we joined forces, meeting for over a year reading and writing and discussing every aspect of publishing and with Onisha, we began to learn how to market what we’d written, as well.

Meantime, I was reading, The Right to Write, by Julia Cameron. She highly recommended self-publishing, hereafter to be called indie (for independent) publishing.

Before, whenever I’d heard about self-publishing I’d heard that you needed to be a speaker and sell your book to your audiences or pay the huge price to for self-publication then end up with a “garage full” of books you couldn’t sell. It was called, vanity publishing. I didn’t want to be vain, I just wanted to write and like a cook preparing a meal, I wanted my efforts consumed by someone who would appreciate them.

Come to find out Julia Cameron isn’t the only person who recommends indie publishing. So does Tama Kieves, a wondrous fireball of a personal coach who has just published her second book, Inspired and Unstoppable. She indied her first one but with this one although she started out doing it herself it was soon picked up by the one right person to publish it the traditional way. Apparently many books, which are now famous and even considered classics, were originally indie published.

Meanwhile Onisha was doing her, and our homework on publication and marketing. She discovered that we could publish free with Amazon and we set out for one of the most exciting adventures of our lives so far.

Rebekah Lyn and Onisha did a lot of the work of publishing Rebekah’s first book themselves. I think it was hard, but they seemed to enjoy most of the learning process. By the time I was ready to go, all I had to do was sit down at the table with them and say, pass the potatoes.

First they suggested I email my manuscript to a professional editor, Beth Lynne of BZ Hercules, who was is an excellent editor and a kind and patient person who charges a reasonable price. Then I sent my hand painted cover to Laura LaRoche  of LLPIX who prepared it for publication. She also helps authors who don’t paint their own covers.

Sacred Spring is now for sale on Amaon for Kindle and in print. Many people like it very much, and I’m so glad. If you read it and like it, please write a nice review for me on Amazon. I’m almost ready to publish the second novel in my Florida Springs trilogy and Rebekah is working on her fourth one. It’s a new and better day for readers and for writers, that’s for sure!


Next Big Thing

Old Books, Cheap

17 Dec

My Take

 DiVoran LItes

At the SPCA thrift store yesterday I found four books to buy.Fortunately, I wasn’t looking for new and popular, but for old and loved.

Lately Bill has been helping me proofread the second novel in the Florida Springs Trilogy, Living Spring. He reads over it, chapter by chapter at my computer explaining his suggestions, and I lie on the couch with the back of my hand to my forehead thinking and discussing. That process reminded me of a writer who so thoroughly knew her material that she also lay on a couch to write, except she dictated to a cotillion of secretaries, and ended up writing a book a day or a book a week . I can’t recall exactly which one. Also, I could not remember her name, but lo and behold, from the depths of the SPCA bookshelf it sprung out at me and drew my hand to its lovely golden spine which said, Barbara Cartland’s, Three Best Loved, 1975. I bought it for thirty-two cents.

Too Soon Old and Too Late Smart: Thirty True things You Need to Know Now, 2004, by Gordon Livingstone, M. D, was also a hardcover and cost thirty-two cents. Living in a small German-based community as a child, I heard that saying a lot and agreed with it more and more as time went on.

I looked at all the old paperback Thesauri, a dime each, but the one I liked was Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, 1992 with Tweety-Bird and Sylvester on the cover. I already have a huge one, that weighs 4.5 lb and I love it, but when I want a quick fix, I usually won’t haul it out of the bookshelf and find a place to look at it. The Tweety-Bird issue is an inch thick, and so beautifully arranged that I looked up words just for the fun of it.

No Promises in the Wind. by Irene Hunt, was one thin dime as well. It’s a children’s book about The Great Depression. The author is a relative of mine. She won the Newbury Award for Children’s Literature with, Across Five Aprils, about the Civil War. Irene Hunt is Aunt May Hunt’s daughter. Aunt May Hunt is Grandmother Marie Bowers’ aunt. Grandmother Marie Bowers is my grandmother. The miracle in all this is that I actually got to know my grandmother’s aunt May and, when our daughter was a baby, she met Aunt May who was her great, great, great aunt. Aunt May taught me how to sew a featherstitch for a quilt and also she told me that ladies didn’t have to shave their legs in the olden days because the homespun petticoats were so rough they rubbed the hair right off. I have a feeling they wouldn’t have shaved them anyway, don’t you? The sad thing is that when I moved to Florida, Grandmother Marie urged me to drive over to the west coast and meet her cousin, Irene Hunt, but I was too awed, too busy, too something. Now, of course, I wish I had. By the way, Irene Hunt’s, No Promises in the Wind received excellent recommendations from The Chicago Daily news and from The New York times. Oh please, let me have received a soupcon (pinch) of her talent in my genes.

Habakkuk 2:2


Wringer Washing Machine Blues

12 Sep


A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites


One day my mother asked if I wanted to help her with washing the family laundry.  At the time, we had one of those barrel shaped washing machines with the clothes wringer attached to the top and side of it.


I must have been about 7 or 8 and had only watched my mother and grandmother do the laundry, but as a young boy intrigued with all things mechanical, I was eager to see how everything worked.  She showed me how to turn on the water to fill the tub, how big a load of clothes could be washed, how much soap powder to add, and all that technical stuff.  I watched carefully so I could do it myself the next time she needed help with the laundry.  After she got the washer going, I stayed around to see how long it took to wash the cloths and how everything worked.


When the washing was done, the tub had to be drained and the cycle repeated to rinse the clothes.  After that was all done it was time to wring the water out of the clothes so they could be hung on the clothesline to dry.  She was very careful to show me how to feed each piece of clothing into the rotating ringer so I wouldn’t get my fingers pinched.


This worked well for a while until I figured I was a pro at that job and got careless.  As I was feeding a piece of clothing into the wringer, I pushed a little too hard, and my middle finger went into the wringer with the piece of clothing.  “Ops! Just pull it back out dummy.”  But that didn’t work and by now that wringer was eating up my whole hand.  It didn’t hurt that much but I was scared and I screamed as loud as I could.  My mother came running but by the time she got there, I was up to my elbow in that hungry wringer’s rollers.  She tried stopping the wringer but didn’t think to just pull the electric cord from the wall.  By now I was up to my armpit and was sure I was going to lose my arm.  I’m sure my screaming didn’t help my mother’s concentration.  She grabbed me around the chest and pulled with all her might, stripping my arm out against the rollers.  This time when I screamed it was because of the pain and the vision of my arm coming out of its socket.  I must have had my eyes closed or something because I really don’t know how she got my arm out of those rollers without pulling my arm off, but she did.

I had painful scraps all down the inside of my arm but thank goodness I still had my arm.  I really don’t like to think about what could have happened if my mother hadn’t been there to pull my arm out of those rollers in time.    Back in those days, I don’t think there was any kind of safety overload switch that would have stopped the rollers when my body got to them.  I would have come out looking like a cartoon character, or worse, Flat Sam.  I think of it as just another case of Someone up there watching over and protecting inquisitive young kids.



Scripture: 2 Peter 3:17



PPSD and God

8 Sep

Today I am suffering from PPSD or Post Promo Shock Disorder. My brain is numb and  my fingers feel lifeless and lethargic. We just finished three days of giving away Rebekah’s newest e-book Julianne. The promo was exciting  and a lot of books were downloaded. Friends on twitter and Facebook all rallied to spread the word and I am thankful for each one of you. Most of all I am grateful to God. There is no other explanation, we are just not that good at promoting. Hugs……Onisha







Book Modus Operendi

27 Aug


My Take

DiVoran Lites


My mom says I was carrying books around and asking someone to read to me when I learned to walk. They have always been a major passion for me. I’ve hauled home so many books from the library that I can’t even take a count of them. My grown daughter once said, “You were a good mother, when ever we wanted to talk to you, you put your book down, and listened.” My own mother might not quite agree, many a time there was when I burned the dinner I was supposed to be watching because I “had my nose in a book.”

I always thought it would be the berries to be able to buy brand-new hardcover books from the bookstore, and I’ve allowed myself new hardcover references, because, after all, we don’t read those and then leave them on the shelves unused. That is, we didn’t until we started to look up everything under the sun on the internet and then reference tomes took a back seat. Sometimes when I walk past a bookshelf, I hear them calling, “me, me, me.”

Now I buy used hardcover books at libraries and thrift stores and if I can get large print, I do. We have a Dollar Tree in town that sells beautiful brand-new hard cover books for one dollar, so in that way a dream has come true. As for contents, I try to choose carefully, I look at the title, the cover picture and the picture of the author, I peruse the insides of the cover and the back and start reading page one. If I feel compelled to turn the page, I buy the book. But even then only some turn out to be good reads. Sometimes I drag through one, barely enjoying it, and at other times I give up.

After I’m through with a novel, I give it away, either to someone I think will like it or as a donation to the library. I don’t know whether they incorporate it into the stacks or not, sometimes I see my cast-offs in a book sale.

My friend, Onisha, who does all the hard work to send the blogs for www.oldthingsrnew.com, does most of her reading on her laptop computer. She can even lie on her side and read it in bed. She finds many free and low cost books there. She’s convinced that print books are on their way out. I’m not ready to admit that yet. Anyhow, if they are on their way out I want to have a stash of them to fall back on.


My Favorite Author and Other Important Matters

19 Aug

My Take

 DiVoran Lites


My all time favorite author is D.E. Stevenson and I believe she is still www.oldthingsrnew.com, blog mistress, Onisha’s all time favorite too. D. E. Stevenson’s father was first cousin to Robert Louis Stevenson. Many of her books have been long out of print, but Persephone is beginning to publish her again. This I find true: “Her books are avidly sought by discerning readers throughout the English-speaking world: readers who appreciate endearing characters, familiar yet intriguing situations, and darn good stories,” from the D. E. Stevenson official website. She was born in 1892 and died in 1977 at eighty-one years of age. She is buried in the Moffat cemetery on the Edinburgh road. I was in Scotland once and got to walk around the outside of the two-story, Victorian house she lived in. I think it should be a museum.

Her books are an exception to my routine of giving novels away. I made a grand effort to collect as many as I could find. I now have thirty-eight of forty-three. For a long time I was able to buy her books at garage sales and used bookstores, but eventually she became rare. I do read them all through every five years or so. It’s unusual for me to read a book more than once, so that shows you how much I enjoy them. She wrote about love, people, houses, and families.

If I read about books that sound good or if I particularly enjoy an author I try to order the books from the library system. I’m not sure all counties have the arrangement we have, but you can look at the online card catalog and find books and no matter where they actually live in the county you can order them and they’ll be sent to your local library for pick-up. I’m only ordering one or two at a time now and that gives me plenty of time in the three weeks allowed to finish them and get them back.


DiVoran is correct. D.E. Stevenson continues to be my all-time favorite author. I love the music of her words, the kindness and insight of her characters. If anyone knows an author of a similar caliber, please share with me.-Onisha



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