Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Thanksgiving Greeting From Diana Raab, Author of Writing for Bliss!



"Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for."
~Zig Ziglar 

Dear Friends, 

As many of my readers know, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Not only do we have a lot to be grateful for, but I love it because for the most part it doesn't have materialistic connections. What can be so bad about a holiday that focuses on good food and being surrounded by loved ones?

One way to document or acknowledge our gratitude is by engaging in gratitude journaling. Begin by writing a gratitude list, and then pick one or two topics to describe in more detail. Those who regularly keep gratitude journals choose to write either early in the morning or before retiring for the day. A dear writing colleague of mine kept her gratitude journal on her bedside table, and each night she made a list of five things she was grateful for. This exercise can inspire us to look for positive events during the day. It also helps  take the focus off the negative. After a while, this attitude can spill  over into everything else you do.

I am very grateful for your readership and giving me your time. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Gratitude is about feeling love and appreciation for the self and others. As poet Pablo Neruda says, "You can pick all the flowers, but you can't stop the spring." Many of us take our lives for granted and do not express gratitude often enough. In addition to keeping a gratitude journal, it is important to permeate each day with gratitude and marvel at the life we are living. This is one of the many reasons that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. More often than not, I think gratitude should be a built-in part of our everyday life and journey. Expressing it is like keeping a tuning fork alive and vibrating the joy throughout the universe.... 

Gratitude encompasses love and appreciation. It is important that we all feel and express and cultivate gratitude in our lives. Gratitude is a key component for living a spiritual life. We never know what circumstances will confront us, but we do know that every day we are presented with the miracles of life. There are many reasons why it is important for you to feel gratitude and express it when you are able. Expressing gratitude is important for your happiness. A sense of appreciation makes other people like you because you will appear to be less self-centered. 

Creatively yours,
Gratitude prompts from
  • List 10 things you're grateful for. 
  • Choose one thing on your list, and write for ten minutes about that topic. 
  • Write about how you express gratitude to others.
  • Write a thank-you letter to someone who changed your life.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Continued Success by Author Warren Adler Prompts Reading of The War of the Roses

Warren Adler
'The War of the Roses' Continues Its Successful International Tour as Both
a Stage Play and Musical
Following its Flemish tour as a hit musical, the Italian rendition of 'The War of the Roses' as a stage play has opened to rave reviews in Milan's Teatro Manzoni...
I'm happy to announce that 'The War of the Roses' stage play is thriving internationally - a deal to roll out the musical in 17 foreign language territories in Europe, Asia and South America was recently signed and while 'The War of the Roses' Italian stage play is currently running in Milan, it will also premiere in Rome.

Here's what the Italian critics are saying so far...
*translated from Italian
Manzoni Theater, 'Roses War' with Ambra Angiolini and Matteo Cremon
The Warren Adler novel of 1981, which became eight years later also a huge movie success, is also a starred comedy
" extraordinary, refined and chaotic comedy at the same time,
comical and cruel, ridiculous and crazy..."
"Adler faces one of the most powerful and extraordinary human
deflagrations: the separation of a man and a woman who shared a great love."
"The real war, perhaps far more bloody, will take place within
us, in perceiving victims and executioners within our unresolved half,
brooding in the bowels of our consciences."

"Adler helps us, with a smile, to face this war with courage and lightness."

On the stage of the Manzoni Theater is the famous Warren Adler comedy, which was a cinematic success of the late 80s. Protagonists of the show Ambra Angiolini and Matteo Cremon
"From there is a crescendo of wickedness, anger, and mutual
 frustration that lead to a self-destructive ending."
"An apparent, idyllic calm that is uncommonly transformed, almost
without any realization, into a storm. From paradise to hell."
The Roses War. Manzoni Theater, November 9, 2017
"...Warren Adler naturally keeps the storyline and characters of the
novel unaltered and creates, almost without wanting, a work
perhaps more suited to a theatrical drama than a film, where drama and
comedyare permeable at any time more than can be done in a remarkable film."
"Lots of applause even on open stage, with numerous calls at the end,
from a crowd enthusiastic in a theater out of stock in every rank of seats."
"...the great chandelier, an important object of the whole affair,
is rich and brilliant in showing a life that is only apparently apparent
but also capable of causing death."
The Manzoni Theater in Milan bursts The Roses War: the comedy that creates a great love
"In this comedy we are confronted with pure emotions, human nature in
all its cruelty, without veils and in the moment of greater weakness:
the separation of a man and a woman who shared a great love."
"The Roses War, the comedy written by Adler, manages to give us
new readings of ourselves, perhaps with lightness and a slight smile
on the lips, giving us the opportunity to bend to the other, to open ourselves
to the next and to the outside world, where women and men will
understand their limits, embrace them and choose to improve
each day, for themselves and for each other."
Read the Novel That Started It All...
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...and the Sequel...
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Do you read book descriptions? After I had read a number of books by author, Warren Adler, and now on his newsletter list, I again learned about his popular book, which later became a movie, The War of the Roses. Not having ever been married, I had no real inclination to read about the divorce of a couple... I should have gone with my gut...

As I consider celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, after finishing the book this morning, I find I do have something to be very thankful for--not ever having been married!

When Adler's creative mind moves into "drive," he puts his all into the book he is writing. In this one, apparently, dark comedy. I have once again confirmed to myself that I have a warped sense of humor, also apparently, because I saw nothing funny about the story even while many others have praised it... Now here's the key, since I wasn't sure of the genre as I started to read it, I thought it was family drama and soon considered it horror.

Readers, I did not like this book. As you consider whether to read it, realize that I am aware of my own prejudices and willingly share them when I come up with a book that I cannot personally recommend. For me, dark comedy is just making light of the real issues that affects some marriages and obviously lead to either enjoying the satire...or your own divorce... 

Still, Adler's story is provocative, compelling, tense and intriguing... How far will this all go? You keep on reading thinking, wanting to intrude into the lives of the characters and...well, start slapping their faces, or heads, likes Gibbs does! I found I would be Ann, who seems to be the only sane one, and even she was obsessively interested in the husband... In fact, when trouble began between the spouses, she was quite willing to seduce and allow her dreams to expand into reality...

But once she realizes what is really happening, she wants out... and tries to deal with it, given the position of governess she had held in the house...

Adler presents a brilliant assessment of today's materialism, power, and position becoming more important, and/or corrupting what may occur in today's marital life. When possessions become more important than another individual's love and relationship, then, yes, a war may begin... I wonder, though, did Adler write it as a warning, even though the movie caricature apparently became more enjoyed than the book itself... Do check out other reviews...this may be just the book you'd like to read...


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ears for Murder: A Beanie and Cruiser Mystery!

...I aimed for home base. I'd intended to stop by Pandora's Box to collect Cruiser's portrait, but the shop was probably closed for the day. Besides, both the dogs and I were exhausted from our Bear Country adventures at Taylor Creed. It was after feeding time at the zoo. First things first, I'd go tomorrow to pick up Cruiser's portrait. I hoped I'd be getting my money's worth.
As I approached my front doorstep, I noticed someone had left a package there. I wasn't expecting any deliveries, but a note was attached. It was from Pandora.
I hope you are pleased with the portrait I've done of Cruiser. Pay me whenever it's convenient. I look forward to seeing you again. Now I felt bad because I hadn't invited her over to deliver the painiing. What must she think of me? Did she think I was trying to avoid paying her for her work? I would see she got paid. As a writer, I understood how creative people are seldom respected or paid what they are really worth and how that makes them feel. Is it any wonder that so many artists and writers throughout history have suffered from depression or even committed suicide? I hadn't seen any indication thus far that this was the case with Pandora...
I collected the package as we went inside. I was eager to see the completed painting of Cruiser, but he and Calamity were intent on food and bolted for the kitchen. I'd have to fill their bowls with their dinner rations before I could start unwrapping any packages. The only packages those two were interested in contained their favorite brand of kibble from the Haute Hydrant. I set down their bowls and Calamity attacked hers with gusto, managing to spill more food than she ate. If left them to finish their meals while I opened the parcel from Pandora...
There is nothing more exciting to me than receiving a package. Like Maria sings in The Sound of Music, "brown paper packages tied up with strings" are a few of my favorite things. I carefully unwrapped the painting, which was nicely matted and framed. We hadn't discussed whether a mat and frame were included in the price she quoted, but I was relieved that she had done the framing for me. I wasn't skilled at that, and I knew having it done at a shop would have been a further expense I wouldn't really afford.
Sorry only a photo!
The final product was everything I had hoped it would be. Pandora had not only accurately portrayed Cruiser's likeness right down to every hair and whisker, she had captured his soul in pastel on the finely sanded paper. Seeing this masterpiece, I regretted I hadn't commissioned a painting of him when he was younger, but I was thrilled to have this one of him. I've always found that a painting of a senior dog conveys a radiance which is hard to put into words, even for someone who writes about dogs. The light in those eyes that seems to reflect the loving heart of a special companion is the reason why we love dogs as deeply as we do for the comparatively short time allotted...

Ears for Murder:
A Beanie and Cruiser Mystery

By Sue Owens Wright

The Secret of Bramble Hill was my first book by Sue Wright - it turned out to be a personal favorite earlier this year... Do check it out! This time, however, I got the chance to meet Beanie and Cruiser, the latest in her cozy mystery series. I did not, however, expect that Beanie would be living in a cabin in the woods, like me, spending her day as a free lance writer, especially for the local newspaper. Guised as a reporter, for the Tahoe Tattler, she has also begun to be an amateur detective and somehow seems to be around when a body is found...

I quickly discovered that I had made a
mistake in allowing Calamity off her
leash for our morning walk. Before I
could say Fleabiscuit, she scurried off,
creating a cyclone of dust in her wake.
...When the dust settled, I discovered
something else besides my two hound
dogs marking a surviving tree. They
had led me straight to a man's
bloody corpse.
This one was a rather gruesome find and actually was found by the two dogs who had been off their leash and away from Beanie, once they'd smelled the body. Actually it had been Calamity, her daughter's dog who she was dog-sitting while she was out of town... Beanie had not realized, however, that Calamity would be as much trouble as she was! The man was somebody Beanie had seen...he had been driving a large masticator who had been eating all the beautiful trees around her home...Now he was seated at the foot of one of those trees with his arms chained around the trunk... an arrow through his neck...with his ear gone... Perhaps as a trophy... The thing was that many were upset about the trees being mowed down, especially the way they were doing it...Beanie knew her grandfather would be angry with what they were doing to the land... and her love of the area had grown deep and strong because of him...
Beanie was part Washoe and remembered much from what she had been taught in her early life by her ancestors. Now with an arrow being used to kill the man tearing up the forest, she was especially concerned they could be blamed... But there was also another group there that had similar concerns, but were part of a secret society that had been out in the forest one night. She had seen their lights and had tried to find them...

Learning about Lake Tahoe and its Indian past gave an interesting plot to a location that is well known by many. Now those with money and land wanted to build a major resort complex that would only detract from the natural beauty known to those who lived there all the time. That includes two men in Beanie's life, both of whom lend a personal insight for those, like me, who have not read previous books in the series.

The key thing for me was the ongoing storyline of Beanie, Elsie MacBean, who is an author living near Lake Tahoe. We meet her and her two dogs staying with her, as well as a number of town characters that add greatly to the setting... Readers of cozies have by now, added a cup of tea and a few crackers to sit back and enjoy the life there on the lakeside...

But just as you have begun to wonder--where are the clues to use in solving the mystery--everything starts happening and the speed of the novel moves faster...First there is the bear, then another meeting of that secret group...and, oh yes, Beanie hopes that her new suitor is going to stick around, especially after he helps save her! The climatic ending is almost a whirlwind blowing after the pace had lulled us into enjoying the coziness of it all...

Wright zaps with a bow and arrow, literally, in the midst of a forest fire that threatens homes and land throughout the area. But nothing prepared me for this killer, an amazing villain that totally fits the story, yet... Wright's creative imagination went into overdrive in finishing this book. With a tinge of psychological suspense, she weaves a tale that was totally unexpected! Verrrry Cool and highly recommended!


Sue Owens Wright is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction. She is an eleven-time finalist for the Maxwell, awarded annually by the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) to the best writer on the subject of dogs. She has twice won the Maxwell Award and earned special recognition from the Humane Society of the United States for her writing. She writes the acclaimed Beanie and Cruiser Mystery Series, including Howling Bloody Murder, Sirius About Murder, Embarking On Murder and Braced For Murder, which is recommended on the American Kennel Club’s list of Best Dog Books. 

Her newest free-standing novel is "The Secret of Bramble Hill" (Black Opal Books, 2016). Her nonfiction books include What’s Your Dog’s IQ?, 150 Activities for Bored Dogs, and People’s Guide to Pets. She has been published in numerous magazines, including Dog Fancy, Mystery Scene, AKC GAZETTE, Fido Friendly, The Bark, and Animal Fair. Her work also appears in several anthologies, including PEN Oakland’s “Fightin’ Words,” along with Norman Mailer and other literary notables.

Sue graduated from California State University Sacramento and taught elementary school, college English and adult writing courses. She did MFA studies in fiction writing at the Universities of Dublin and Galway in Ireland and University College London in England. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, DWAA, Sisters in Crime, PEO International, Sierra Pastel Society, SSPCA, and Daughters of the American Revolution. For more information about the author, visit

Friday, November 17, 2017

Poet Doug Anderson Presents - 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