Friday, November 17, 2017

Poet Doug Anderson Presents - Come Spend the Winter With me!



COME SPEND THE WINTER WITH ME

Help me break the ice
on the watering trough,
spill the feed
into the horse’s buckets.
sing to the dogs.
At night I’ll read poems
to you, 
my own and others.

It’s not good
to spend February alone,
the ice crystals on the window
are too beautiful
in the morning sun,
you need to have someone
wake you with a kiss,
and say,
Look! It’s not good for you
to be alone
in a time of razoring winds.
Come to me.
There is nothing quite like
hot skin on skin
to shut out the cold,
in the dream chamber
under the blankets.
It’s not good for me either,
to be alone.
Weren’t meant to be.
Don’t worry,
I won’t quote Augustine.
But come to me.


I have Italian coffee.
I have flat bread and honey.
I have roast lamb.
Look up the hill
and see my light.
Come to me.
I have more poetry
than you can imagine.
And in the spring
I’ll watch you
uncover your beautiful arms...
~~~


--Henri Martin



Doug Anderson has written two books of poems of which The Moon Reflected Fire won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and Blues for Unemployed Secret Police a grant from the Eric Matthieu King Fund of the Academy of American Poets. His play, Short Timers, was produced at New York's The Theater for The New City in 1981. He has written film scripts, fiction and criticism and is at present at work on a novel about human trafficking. He earned a Phd from the University of Connecticut and teaches at the Hartford campus. His awards include fellowships from the NEA, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Poets & Writers, Inc., The Massachusetts Artists Foundations, The MacDowell Colony and other funding organizations. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Massachusetts Review, The Connecticut Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares and many other literary magazines.





See Also His Poem


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How I Learned to Love the Revisions, Cuts and Rewrites of Writing My Novels -- Guest Blogger, Lin Wilder!



Bet you have decided to read this because the title grabbed you. Maybe you’re thinking something like, “No way,” or “This has got to be a fake lead-in,” or “No sane person enjoys rewriting or revising their stories, it’s pure tedium and frequently painful.”

Right?

Exactly what I have thought while working on the revisions for each of the four books I have published in the last three years. There are about five maybe six reasons for the difference with my newest book but first a brief background. And then to the reasons why revisions, cuts and rewrites got to be fun.


For most of my life, I wrote and published non-fiction and the work with editors was labor intensive-like all writing- but mostly enjoyable. I think that was due to the collaboration- even friendship, I felt with most of my editors. If you can remember the days before the internet, writing and publishing was kind of intimate. There was no email, so my editor and I talked frequently on the phone, we got to know one another. For bigger projects like the textbook, the editor flew to Houston to meet with me several times.

Then later for journals where I published frequently the relationship with editor became more friend than editor. When he or she returned a manuscript with critical comments, I made the corrections and we were done with it. The article got published, no big deal.

But those experiences were not repeated during these first three years of writing fiction. In fact, my attitude about revising each of my former three novels and memoir can be categorized by the last of the first sentence: pure tedium and frequently painful.
Why?
  • Although my prior extensive writing and publishing experience provided the confidence and skills needed by anyone wanting to write a book, all that background turned out to be a problem. The field of academic medicine, critical care nursing and hospital administration is a small world. Therefore, all that writing brought acclaim, requests for speaking engagements and consultations. I expected my foray into fiction to be a similar experience. I can only smile at my naivete. And wonder if I’d known that I was jumping from a very small puddle to open ocean would I still have done it? Since 2007, when I began my first novel, the market has exploded.
  • Non-fiction is easier writing than is fiction. Still work, in
    that coherence, organization, and all the essentials of good writing are required but non-fiction demands far less of the writer than does fiction. By default, non-fiction requires a kind of anonymity from the author. The subject is king. All that the writer does is make it intriguing, even a little provocative to the reader. But fiction? No anonymity here. None. In fact, by creating characters we write into existence thoughts and feelings which may never have been expressed. Since the writing of fiction is necessarily so much more personal, critical comments and bad reviews hurt.
  • There is a reason the pundits predict that it takes writers six, seven or ten novels to get known. The feelings I’ve expressed above are not unique to me, I am sure. Plus, it takes time to get it right.There are some authors who ‘make it’ with their first book. Most have not.
  • Getting it right begs for more explanation. You are like me, I wager, in that you write because there is a story that is bursting to get out. So, it becomes a case of writing because we cannot not write. Most of us are good writers. But the objective eye of a practiced editor is essential. It may take time to find the person with whom you work best. It sure has for me.
What’s Changed?
  • With more experience, we can lighten up. Accept missed deadlines. Learn to slough off bad reviews. Decide why we write and for whom. That’s why I finished this last book in early October as I expected despite walking away for days, even weeks. During those times when a new character eluded me, I took time off. A first. And did not feel guilty because while I was working out, reading a novel or doing nothing, he slowly began to take shape. I had not been able to do that and found that nothing was lost.
  • Last October, I contracted with a new editor. She and I talked occasionally by email about my progress. Back in March, she sent me this email: “Take. Your. Time.” Instead of being behind of our agreed schedule, and learned I was ahead of schedule. Great, she has a sense of humor.
  • Perhaps because of the adage, ‘the master appears when the student is ready,’ my new editor is making the rewrite fun. One of my favorite of her merciless critiques was ‘this feels like you are writing a whole novel in this one paragraph-either explain this or cut it. I hope you cut it.” I laughed. And cut it. Working with her feels as if I have a partner in chipping away at the unnecessary words, or even pages.


Lin Wilder holds  a Doctorate in Public Health and has published extensively in fields like cardiac physiology, institutional ethics and hospital management. In 2007, she switched from non-fiction to fiction. Her series of medical thrillers include many references to the Texas Medical Center where Lin worked for over twenty-three years. Her latest novel is Malthus Revisited: The Cup of Wrath, the fourth in the Dr.Lindsey McCall medical mystery series. Finding the Narrow Path was an unplanned return to non-fiction. All her books are available at Amazon and at her website, linwilder.com where she writes weekly articles. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Day I Saw The Hummingbird - Presented by Paulette Mahurin



As the coolness started to disappear from the morning air, we knew it was time to get ready for work. I felt for Mama; she had had no sleep for two nights. When she lit a candle and began making breakfast, I could see her wrinkled face and bloodshot eyes. Everything about her was tired-looking. She appeared much older than her young thirty years. Oh, how I wished she could stay back in the cabin and rest. But no, she had no time for that. No time for anything other than grabbing a quick meal, feeding me, changing out of her putrid dress, and dragging her exhausted body to work. 
It was an especially warm mid-May day. The hummingbirds had already arrived earlier that year. They usually welcomed in a new year, migrating to Louisiana around the end of January. Mama and I were working near the edge of the sugarcane crop close to some flowers when I saw a tiny bird dipping its long, slender bill into an orange bell-shaped flower. It was a rare treat when I spotted a hummingbird with its vibrant colors. Something about those birds made me feel more alive. I once tried to count the times one flapped its wings. I couldn’t do it; it’s near impossible to see the space between the movements. And oh, how that little beauty invigorated me. I thought the day had started off on a good foot, seeing that beautiful creature covered in the brightest turquoise blue I ever did see. The pretty little thing had splashes of orange on it, too—just like the color of the flower it fed on. I could surely fly off and spend the rest of my life living among such grand appeal. Mama was right when she would say, “It God’s work in nature. You wanna find peace, my boy, God done filled the whole world with it. Just gotta look past all the folk who fuss and fume. God’s creations, they is simple and fine.” She’d smile and shake her head in amazement. “Proves to me,” she’d sing, “there surely be a Lord creating all this.”
But what went wrong when that same Lord who created such magnificence also created men with bitter hatred in their hearts? I never got my answer to that question. And if ever there was a time I needed one, it would be the day I saw the hummingbird...

The Day I Saw
  The Hummingbird

By Paulette Mahurin


Slavery is the next thing to hell.  
--Harriet Tubman


He had been born into slavery and as soon as he was old enough would also be called upon to work the fields, cutting the cane or carrying...his Mama would be teaching him how to do it, for she had carried him, screamed in her birthing and then took him into the fields as she was forced to go back to work... There was no other option. They were bought and paid for, becoming the property of the plantation owner.

But the one they all hated most was the overseer, who carried a whip or used anything else to hurt them, including coming into their shanties late at night...He had been there the night he came to Mama. She had scooted him out to go sleep with his friend... Even then he was old enough to know what happened to the women when he came...With his father gone, there was no way to protect his Mama... 

And the hate and anger within him grew deeper and deeper, cutting his heart and soul until he could not contain his outbursts...


I couldn’t shake the distrust that lived in my body. 
All the kindness and compassion I’d experienced
from those who helped to free me
never replaced the sour taste left from the torture
and injustice at the hands of the mean foreman
that defined my childhood. 
Lower your head Oscar, I could still hear my Mama
scream. Don’t be looking where your eyes don’t belong.
Later at night when away from the sugarcane field,
my mama, Catherine Mercer,
her big brown eyes wide as the moon and
her nostrils flaring, would whisper in my ear. 
Your curiosity is gonna get us killed.
~~~
Sometimes they had half-days off on Sunday. Oscar and his friend would spend time at the creek throwing rocks to count the times it would jump...Simple fun that took them away from all that was wrong with their world...

Oscar is the main character of Paulette Mahurin's latest novel. I met her with her debut book, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap  and The Seven Year Dress. Mahurin has a real gift in creating books that are historically significant, but, even more importantly, readers become so involved in her books that we begin to feel as if we were right there within the book, maybe even as one of the characters....

While the story is built around Harriet Tubman's work with The Underground Railroad, she personally is only mentioned in this book as the person who started it...



Oscar was not even ten when, on his mother's death bed, she indicated that it was now time for him to go for freedom. There had been a small group who talked about and planned for an escape, but, in the end, it was only Oscar and his best friend, Sammy who, at the age of 10, sat with Oscar while she went back to work... She had no choice now, they had already killed her husband and she had to ensure her boy was safe...

Now, Sammy and Oscar had to leave on their own, never to see anybody again who was left behind. They had learned the routes to follow and had been given a small map but neither had ever been anywhere outside of the plantation... Fear alone walked with them...

Oscar was an intelligent young boy and had some basic learning of the alphabet and reading, even though it was forbidden for them to learn how to read. His mother had taught him much about God and life, about nature's beauty and how to survive. 
But two other women he met along the way continued to teach Oscar... It is in the sacrifices of those who provided support to those who escaped that we learn not only more about Oscar, but also about how those who provided shelter felt as if they were compelled to help!

Be prepared for the danger and death as Oscar ran, first losing Sammy and then meeting others who took him under their wings to provide for him. Months and years went by and Oscar celebrated his 10th birthday while he was still running... What was in the future and would he ever be free from running. Did freedom even exist?

For during his trip, the Civil War had begun and soldiers were fighting, sometimes forcing them to take a different trail. And as the Railroad became better known, their masters began to put rewards on their heads to bring them back...

A possibly well known story to many...and yet, so startlingly different. Seeing everything through Oscar's eyes as he, first, grew up enslaved and afraid, only to be forced to leave his Mama's grave and his few friends and run into the unknown...

Readers are faced with the tension, that ongoing fear, the hatred faced by drunken men who delighted in hurting he and others for no reason...and, worse, to see those he loved die horrible deaths...one...by...one... 

It's time to remember. It's time to consider how Blacks did not immigrate like, perhaps, you and I came to America through our ancestors. Blacks came as prisoners, chained and sold to the highest bidder... You might even think about the recent activity of the KKK and other hate groups and come to see that we still, today, need to ensure that individuals who hate are not permitted to once again require protection from those haters...

My recommendation for this latest book, by Paulette Mahurin, is to consider it a must-read...It's an important contribution to Mahurin's own library and I encourage you to consider this as well as her other troubling, powerfully-written stories...


GABixlerReviews



Paulette Mahurin lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science. While in college, she won awards and was published for her short-story writing. One of these stories, Something Wonderful, was based on the couple presented in His Name Was Ben, which she expanded into a fictionalized novel in 2014. Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction of the year 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the top ten best seller lists on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K., and Amazon Australia. Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

SCARED... A Memoir Presented by Monolin Moreno



The Trail of Tears...

In 1837, Samuel Hough...became part of the great East-West movement, which was spurred by the creation of the non-slave Northwest Territory, a transportation revolution, a flood of new immigrants, and government sale of millions of acres of western land after the subjugation and forced removal of American Indians from their ancestral lands...
--A Village in Time by Neil C. Hughes



Everything has a beginning origin,
creation story
the universe, earth, rivers, trees,
you and me...

Manny

Moments

Sage burns in an abalone shell
Smoke spirals to heaven
My thoughts are on a mission
For things to think about
There are many stories to write
But this hummingbird has me on its wings
What happens now will not happen
Again as it is happening
I will not be remembered sitting here
Caught in this cross-fire of solitude
The smoke spiraling to heaven
Will not ascend this way again
Shadows moving across the ground
Have neither tongues nor eyes
***

I remember waking up at dawn on September 14, 1986, hungover like a big dog and putting on a pot of coffee to snap out of it. I got wasted the night before celebrating my thirty-first birthday out at Frank's Corner and only slept a few hours.
The sun was rising above the rooftops and streaming through an open window where I sat at the kitchen table, as cool breezes splashed in across my fact sobering me up. Everybody else was still in bed and the sounds of a train passing through Livingston echoed in the distance.
I was peeking out at the leaves of the big weeping willow tree in the backyard falling down like a shower of the feathers and carpeting down like a shower of tiny feathers and carpeting the ground around it in a circle. Suddenly Grandpa Manuel popped into my mind planting a long twig in the middle of the backyard in 1968, as a gift to us when we first moved here. I never believed it would grow into this big beautiful tree but Grandpa proved me wrong.
In my drunk and drugged stupor I was imaging grandpa's spirit was in the tree trying to reach out to me. That's what I wanted to believe and I whispered almost crying to the tree, "Help me Grandpa, help me." But I got no answer.
When the coffee was ready I got up and went into the bedroom to grab some pens and notebooks and sat back down to start writing out of desperation about my journey on this road of life. I wanted this book to be my gift to the family. But I never realized how hard it was going to be...
This is what I began to write about with the jitters on this morning thirty years ago, how my life evolved into becoming my worst enemy and about the shell of a man I had become...
"It's good to know where you come from so when you get asked to introduce yourself you can say who you are and who your ancestors were."
~~~

SCARED
A Memoir

Monolin "Manny" Moreno


Although we all know the history of what was done to our Native Americans, Manny Moreno, in his memoir, says little about how his life was affected as a man of color...Brown... Even his ancestry was questioned sometime... When I saw the cover picture of Manny, I wondered how this could be questioned... I had always admired Chief Dan George who used to appear on television when I was young and recognized the same strong features in the face of Manny Moreno...

They came to the room and Mom said "Sophie brought these elders to pray over you."
The husband said "Hello Manny, my wife and I would like to pray over you, do you mind?"
"Oh...yeah whatever," I was thinking if it weren't for them being elders I would have told them to go f... themselves. The three of us held hands and began to pray.
As they were praying I felt this electricity flow through my body from my feet to my head and then slowly back down to my feet. A great unexplainable peace came over me. I didn't know what to think. I couldn't think. All my senses were flowing with calmness. When they were done praying they left and I fell into a deep sleep...
I patted around my stomach when I woke up in the dim room and didn't feel the bag. There was only a piece of thick gauze where my gut had been sticking out. She said it was a miracle. That the bag was removed and I was patched back up...
~~~
I have enjoyed reading two of Manny's previous books, The Bridge is Gone, and The Elder, and suggest you read my reviews before you leave today and check these books out as well...

The key thing for me in highly recommending Manny's Memoir is that, even with the plight presented historically to our Native Americans and today, Manny chooses not to blame history. Yet, it is known by many that the movement of American Indians onto reservation land, and the concurrent discrimination of those who were here in the United States...first... led to a life of poverty and homelessness at the same time that, with no jobs available, many had nothing to do and began drinking and using drugs to escape... often staying out all night drinking and drugging at local bars listening to Santana...

While Manny also participated to his detriment, he openly shares  his early life experiences and allows us to realize the life of both he and his friends as they succumbed to hopelessness...

This is not an easy book to read. This is about being a child, children, and adults being forced to take jobs that nobody else is willing to do, it's about becoming an alcoholic or addict and what that meant to some--Death. Manny talks about being SCARED quite often...Manny spoke to my heart...and I believe he will touch many through his powerful words. 

Not only does he share about his own early life but he tracks his family activities as much as he was able to discover. For much of his life, he was mostly involved with Chicano friends. He knew he was Yaqui but could not find many documents of birth or place of origin. Still, his work is a major contribution for both his family and those interested in the history of Native Americans.

Manny shares of discrimination against those with brown skin, even in school and in their towns--"I remember these white business owners in town saying stupid things like, Mexicans are used to being poor, they're happy like that, they're content to have cheap dirty menial jobs and didn't mind living out in Gallo camp cramped like sardines in tiny cinder block shanties and in town in old dilapidated shacks." Seriously? Sometimes I just don't understand some of those people who also have white skin like me...

It was when Manny got involved with his heritage that I felt better, even though he got to that place by going into detox... There is a different approach to the author's writing as he begins to talk about those days. And readers see the man, who had struggled for so many years, awaken as he began to feel better about himself and to meet others who spoke of and celebrated their ancestors.

Many of us have been intrigued by the supernatural surrounding Native Americans, but as Manny shared stories he had experienced in his early life, several were quite scary and inexplicable... at least to me... except the one where he was healed after being prayed for...

Although his latest book is his memoir, I believe there is still much for Manny to share with his readers... It is clear from the various talents he has--artist, poet and writer, that God has presented him with many gifts... In his story, several incidents felt to me that God's intervention had more than once saved his life...

A note about the writing...Manny speaks from his past life, with much street language. There are also minor proofreading errors but not enough to prevent the reader from understanding and placing much value on his story.  Through help from many, Manny continues to speak for his Indian world while becoming recognized as a spiritual leader in ceremonies and the various communities where he shares his ancestral dances and stories for the young. A final personal note from me...when you buy one of Manny's books, as I did this one, you are helping him meet his basic life needs of food and shelter... Through Manny's story, you may find recognition...sympathy... or even despair knowing how our Native Americans live in today's world. Please check this book out as well as his other creative contributions...


GABixlerReviews




Welcome, I am Monolin Manny Moreno. I grew-up in the San Joaquin Valley in a small town named Livingston. My roots here go back to 1919 when my grandparents arrived here looking for work, from Sonora, Mexico and Arizona, Yaquis. In those times along the border and south of it, the Revolution was taking place and many Indigenous families came north looking to survive and raise their families. My family Yaqui records date back so far to the late 1700's. I am an Enrolled Member of State Recognized Texas Band of Yaqui Indians.
I grew-up during the 1960's and 70's DE-colonizing my mind. During these times I was writing poetry and painting. I have been writing since I was a boy, inspired and encouraged in part by my mother and an aunt. I accumulated many notebooks over decades and self published small chapbooks along the way. My first book released in 2008 is titled The Bridge is Gone, poetry. My latest release is titled The Elder, a tribute. My memoir, Scared, has just been published.

I work seasonal and the sales of my books helps me to get by another day. I am striving to write and record life in this area but living circumstances make it very difficult. So all proceeds of my books when ordered directly through me go to me.
I have also included videos, interviews and art work as well as some publicity clips on my work.Thank you for dropping by and don't forget to order...Click to my site now...

Manny

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Desolate Garden by Daniel Kemp - Historical or Today's World???

http://ns1.wordpress.comns2.wordpress.comns3.wordpress.com.www-thedesolategarden-com.co.uk/


Chapter One: Poison Ivy The first time I saw her was three days after I was told that my father had died. All the national newspapers had carried the story in their first editions; most describing him as a private banker, others as simply a financier. All had speculated as to why. The majority of the more respectful had suggested pressure, and stress in the current financial world. However, the most popular tabloids had repeated the accusation for which he had successfully sued them, that his money had come from unscrupulous and tyrannical rulers of various African countries. Only this time they glossed over some previously mentioned names, and added the word 'alleged.' They had not known that he had been murdered...
“Lord Paterson? I'm Detective Chief Superintendent Fletcher of the Special Branch. I've got some news for you about your father…may I come in?” 
It had been the previous Sunday, around about three in the afternoon, and I had just driven home from my local pub after spending all morning blasting crows out of the sky. I reeked of alcohol, sweat, and cordite. The twelve-bore 'Purdy' shotgun lay dismantled on the gun-room table, and the rest of my gear was scattered around the floor. He glanced at the gun. “Been busy, Sir?” He asked, in an official police tone. 
“Yes. One of my tenants keep sheep, and they're lambing. The crows pick out the lambs' eyes almost the minute they're born, nasty creatures, so I lend a hand killing as many we can. My license is in the estate office, if you want to see it? Incidentally I'm not a Lord, only a lowly Honourable.” I replied, without looking at him. 
“I never knew that about crows. As for the license, that won't be necessary.” He paused. “I'm afraid that your father was found shot in the head by the housekeeper at his home in Eton Square, London, at ten past one this morning; so, as I understand it, you are now a Lord,” he stated, in the standard perfunctory, manner that the police inform relatives of the unfortunate. “Can you think of anyone who may have wanted to kill him?” He enquired, without a change of tone to his voice or any pretense of remorse. 
The shame of it was that I could not. However, that did not imply that he had no enemies; only that I had been unable to discover them, and I should have. “Absolutely none. He was the last person I would have thought of to have had enemies. It might have been money they were after…he had plenty of that,” I declared, not trying to hide my indifference. 
“He was alone in the ground floor sitting room. There were signs of a forced entry Sir, and the housekeeper says that he was alone that night. He had no company.” 
His monosyllabic style of speaking was beginning to annoy me. “Was there anything missing?” I asked, knowing exactly what the housekeeper meant by company. 
“No, Sir, nothing that the housekeeper or his valet knows of. I was hoping you might be able to provide some information, throw some light on it. Has he been in touch with you lately?” He asked, fingering the bespoke carved stock. “Very lovely gun. Expensive, I expect,” he added. 
“Yes to the gun, and no regarding him being in touch,” I curtly replied. I had never had much time for the police and he was not changing my opinion...
“Look… he and I didn't get on. We haven't spoken to each other since he left before my mother died. I haven't spoken to him or seen him in almost two years and, quite frankly, I don't give a toss that he's dead. If that's all, Detective Chief Superintendent, I've got lot more important things to do than discuss the personal relationship the two of us had or didn't have.” 
My abruptness and directness had shocked him, or perhaps it was my inhospitality and his need of a drink that hastened his departure, I was not sure which. However, before he left what he considered to be an unfinished conversation, he summoned me to London the following Wednesday to meet with a Government Official. He did not name him, nor his office, but declared. “You will be met at the station, and we will expect your full cooperation in all of this, your Lordship. It is, as you will appreciate, a matter of great importance. I look forward to your collaboration at our next meeting.” Irascibly, he stressed the 'next', as I closed the door behind him. 
I had no qualms over the forthcoming journey to London, other than my complete distaste of that city and all who traversed its capricious streets. What did worry me though, was the question of who had shot my father? I could think of a reason why it had happened; but had no idea who could have done it!

~~~


The Desolate Garden

By Daniel Kemp


Given that each chapter carried a name that had something to do with gardening, I admit that in the back of my mind, I kept trying to figure out the association of the title and chapter headings to the book itself. While I was unable to immediately confirm why Garden became an important theme, I enjoyed learning how it evolved from one character in particular...

One of the first English words that Paulo learnt from the old man at the postal office in Leningrad was 'Garden.' At his tender age, everybody was old. Even his own mother was ancient, and as far as his father was concerned, the fact that he was nearing his fiftieth birthday was beyond his youthful comprehension. A colorful garden, however, was not. Yuri, a name he was to use himself later in his life, had been a gardener's apprentice on an estate in England before the Great War had started in Europe and he had begun Paulo's education by showing him pictures of how the huge kitchen garden looked, behind the walls that sheltered it and kept it warm. The young, aspiring, Paulo found a parallel between life and gardening, and he became more aware of the words that Yuri used to describe the art in which he had wanted to prosper, before the world erupted. 
The sun and the rain were important, of course, but so too was nourishment and care. Knowledge of where best to grow a particular plant and how to prune it, to keep its shape, or to maximise its production. “Have you ever seen a plot of land that's been left to its own and God's devices, Paulo? All overgrown, with the plants strangling each other?” he asked, then answered without delay, “Of course you have. They're all around you. That's what happens when nature has its own way, without us to supervise and manage it. 
The world would be in a sorry state without gardeners, that's for sure. 
Do you know what God's answer to pruning is? It's war and desolation; that's what it is. A messy way of doing things,” he sagely proclaimed. 
He had forgotten to add an important aspect of prolonging a flowering plant's life before it turned to seed; that of deadheading, allowing the production of more flowers to flourish. 
To the aging and skeptical, more pragmatic, Paulo, life was
equivalent to war. The strong must survive at the expense of the weak. He had adopted and followed this philosophy, except for on one occasion; when he failed to spot a shoot left to grow from the base of his rose bush, one that threatened to suck the life out of its host, the merciful Paulo himself...
~~~


...and set for a night of bliss, as my
undoubtably charms had obviously
seduced her, or so I thought!
"It was because I was ordered to
meet you, and you haven't
disappointed me. You're exactly
as your file reads. I can summarize
it in one word: chauvinistic.
Thought you'd scored, didn't
you? Shame...you couldn't be
further from the truth. I've got
to hold your hand all the way
through the debrief. I'm your
liaison officer, and I'm stuck
with you. How did your reunion
with our lord and master go?
Was Trimble wearing that
sarcastic smile of his?...
~~~
It was there in the discussion about working in a garden that I learned...

Do you know what God's answer to pruning is? It's war and desolation; that's what it is. A messy way of doing things,” he sagely proclaimed.

The Desolate Garden starts out as a murder mystery, but as you read, it becomes primarily an historical investigation that flashes back to activities in Great Britain and in Russia...

The Honorable Harry Paterson had just become Lord Paterson as a result of his father's death...murder, that is... Harry had not been close to his father, and the specific position of each child was automatically declared based upon their placement in birth. Harry was fortunate when a younger son had been born and he had not had the responsibility to take over the family bank, about which he'd been quite pleased!

But his father being murdered naturally placed him as a "major person of interest" because of his inheritance of being named "Lord."

But instead of being interviewed and returning to his home, a liaison officer had been named to stay with him through the entire investigation, perhaps for safety of the new Lord, but primarily to determine exactly what he might know about the murder.

I must say that I became fascinated with the interview process and imagined it must be similar to that now being done by Special Investigator Mueller, for certainly, tracking the money became a significant part of the discussions with the new Lord Paterson.

It was quite clear that Judith knew much more about Harry and his family than he does. On the other hand, Harry's father had contacted him before his death about secret transactions that he'd discovered at the family bank and asked for help in trying to learn more about them. What evolved is a long history of collusion, spying, financial payment for political reasons, as well as personal family secrets that went back three generations. 

The further I read, the more I was intrigued in discovering not only what and why things had happened as they did, but who was now committing murder, perhaps to hide some of those historical secrets...But, I have to share that nothing prepared me for the ending! Very Cool! I love being stumped by the author as he weaves his magic...

I'm not a fan of war, but, you know, this historical story provided me a better understanding of what is happening in today's world.  I knew there were things that the average national citizen didn't know about...but I realized after this novel, just how corrupt and ruthless politics and wars between and among nations can be. By the dialogue method between the two main characters used to follow past and present steps, readers feel as if they are right there, working within the investigation, discovering each detail, and able to see how and why each action took place... Clearly the author's past profession has allowed him to transfer his experience into edgy stories!

The conclusion was quite satisfactory, but I did wonder what the future held in store for Harry, the son who lost not only his father, but his younger brother, who was also murdered, and was, for quite some time in danger of losing his own life. The book is slow-moving, meticulous in detail, while suspenseful and complex enough to pull readers into the story more and more. A sub-plot where new members of Harry's family were identified at the same time he was losing those from his immediate family gave a softening effect to the overall horror that had happened through the years.  If my comments sound interesting...do check it out...it's highly recommended.


GABixlerReviews


Daniel Kemp, ex-London police officer, mini-cab business owner, pub tenant and licensed London taxi driver never planned to be a writer, but after his first novel —The Desolate Garden — was under a paid option to become a $30 million film for five years until distribution became an insurmountable problem for the production company what else could he do?

Nowadays he is a prolific storyteller, and although it’s true to say that he mainly concentrates on what he knows most about; murders laced by the intrigue involving spies, his diverse experience of life shows in the short stories he compiles both for adults and children.

He is the recipient of rave reviews from a prestigious Manhattan publication, been described as —the new Graham Green — by a managerial employee of Waterstones Books, for whom he did a countrywide tour of signing events, and he has appeared on ‘live' television.