Girl Scout Day memories, Olga, Death Be Blue Going Forth by Day reviews, Allan Cheesman, Frankenstei

is March 12 and is part of National Girl Scout Week.

Girl Scouting in the United States of America began on March 12, 1912, when Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout troop meeting. 18 girls attended this first troop meeting in Savannah, Georgia. For these girls, Juliette Gordon Low organized enrichment programs, service projects, and outdoor activities and adventures. Since the time of the first meeting, Girl Scouts has grown to over 3.7 million members. The organization’s original name was the Girl Guides of America. Now this name designates European troops. In the US there are age divisions of Scouting. For Kindergarten age girls there is Daisy Scout. Next is Brownie,then Junior and Cadette scout. The highest age level is Senior Scouting. The motto is "Be Prepared” the slogan is “Do a Good Turn Daily”

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.”

I was a Brownie for one year, but my family moved. When I had daughter, we started with Daisy and I was a co-Leader through Cadette Scouts. At that time my daughter go busy with other activities and then joined Explorer Scouts (co-ed Boy Scouting) briefly before college.

What I liked about the program was that it taught girls to be self-reliant and to plan all sorts of activities and how to work though problems without running to someone for help. I asked my readers to tell me about Girl Scouting in their own lives. The first to answer never was a Girl Scout!

Aaron Henley said Where's the cookie forms? I need my Thin Mints! My precious...oh my precious...*Gollum* *Gollum*

Melissa Williams said Urg...I know I am not THAT old, but can I remember details of my time as a Brownie or Junior? lol I do remember enjoying camping and making meals over a stove fashioned out of a pail. And using natural objects to decorate the tables we ate at. I think my Junior troop was named after a red rose. And I apparently most loved whittling sticks. Not sure I learned quite enough to make my own fire or pitch a tent, though--learned that as an adult.

Denise Hasund Sherman said

How about a mom of a Girl Scout... my daughter enjoyed her time as a Girl Scout... and selling cookies... before we moved from Washington and it was cookie sale time (the apartment looked like a Cookie bomb exploded) she sold over her last year of Girl Scout Cookies and she had bridged up to her Juniors green vest... oh and she went to horse camp 2 years in a row...

It was lots of fun for her...

Leslie Luther-Fulton said

When I was growing up my Mom was my first troop leader. (Cumberland Valley Counsel of Middle Tennessee). As I advanced through the ranks so did she. By the time I became a Junior she was not just a cookie mom, she was "The Cookie Mom" - Council rep over all the cookie moms.For at least six weeks of the year our house was full of cookies - they were everywhere. There was no escape from the Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties. My mother was a brave woman, and my father extremely tolerant

Last week Jill Hand told us about her writing.

This week we meet her character Olga from The Blue Horse

1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.

My name is Olga. You could not pronounce my last name so I won’t bother telling it to you.

2. Tell us where and when you were born.

I was born a very long time ago in Petergof, Russia. It was a town on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. I have no idea what they call it today and no desire to ever go back there.

3. How would you describe yourself?

I am very beautiful and intelligent. I am also quite modest. That is a joke, although of course I am both beautiful and intelligent.

4. Tell us about where you grew up.

I grew up in Russia, the real Russia, before the horrid Communists took over and killed all my family. We moved around a lot, following the court. My father was close to the Czar and my mother was a lady in waiting to the Czarina.

5. How old are you?

It is impolite to ask a lady her age. Suffice it to say I am much older than I look, and I look like I am about eighteen. Have you noticed what nice skin I have? I wash with rose water. You should try it.

6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why or why not.

Yes and no. I had beautiful dresses and went to balls and to the ballet at the Mariinsky Theater. My brothers and I raced horse-drawn sleighs over frozen rivers. That was good. Then my family was imprisoned and murdered. That was bad.

7. Past/present relationships? How did they affect you?

Do you mean romantic relationships? Like any young lady of my social class I indulged in flirtations. They were a good way to pass the long, cold winters. Are you familiar with the term “white nights?” It never got completely dark. It was a good time for ice skating, and for walking along the banks of the Neva with a handsome young military officer, who would lend me his greatcoat to keep me warm. Then, just as I was about to be murdered by the horrid

Communists, I was whisked away to the twenty-fourth century, where I met my husband, Jim. He is strong and handsome and nearly as intelligent as I am. We love each other very much.

8. What do you value above all else in life?

Besides Jim? Revenge.

9. What are you obsessed with?


10. How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?

I believe in promoting my own interests. When done successfully, as it almost always is, it makes my life and those of the people I care about very pleasant.

11. Biggest fear?

I am not afraid of anything, except of harm coming to Jim.

12. What line will you never cross?

Aside from betraying Jim? There is no line I wouldn’t cross. I suppose you would consider me amoral. I call it being practical.

13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?

The best thing was convincing Jim to marry me. I told him he had better do it, and after some argument he agreed. The worst thing was my family being killed. I saw it happen. It was quite dreadful.

14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

Nothing particularly embarrassing has ever happened to me, aside from slipping and falling in front of people who laughed (I made them sorry for that, by the way), or dripping ice cream on my clothing.

15. Biggest secret?

I see what you are doing. You are attempting to blackmail me. I refuse to answer. Next question.

16. What is the one word you would use to describe yourself.


17. What is your current goal?

To take over the world. Ha-ha! That is a joke. My goal is to be a good employee of the Travel Agency, and a good wife to Jim, nothing more. In fact, forget I said anything about taking over the world.

A review of Death Be Blue by Katie Epstein

Book 1 of the Terra Vane Series is such a fun read that on reaching the end of the story I immediately bought Book 2.

I was hooked. The story is of a human woman Terra Vane who’s had a very unhappy and mistreated upbringing simply because she’s psychic. When she emigrates to Portiside she feels at home in this new world of shifters, fey, vampires and a host of other super natural creatures. It’s still not that great of a fit because she’s only a gifted human, but she is accepted in the city crime-fighting agency as an Enforcer Field Agent. Many of the EFA’s are shifters, including her partner Kaleb (a wolf). They work together to bring down dealers of a dangerous drug known as Blue which enhances a criminal’s (most of them rogue shifters) natural proclivity to violence and must be stopped. The world and character building is excellent. There’s even a map. There’s humor, wit and adventure that doesn’t devolve into a tired paranormal shifter romance, but the reader knows it might so there is certainly romantic tension. I turned pages eager to see how the adventure went and was never disappointed.

Our next author spotlight is on Allan Cheesman. Welcome!

1. Who are you as a person? (brief bio paragraph)

Answer: I’m a new author, husband, father, and retired US Army Command Sergeant Major (25 years). I’m currently attending the University of Texas at San Antonio pursuing a history degree, which I did not complete while serving in the Army. I’m married to my best friend and soul mate, Tiffany (32 years come 25 February) and we have four wonderful children (all adults – ages 23-30). My Family and I live in Marion, Texas.

2. How long have you been a writer?

Answer: To be truthful, I’ve written military documents, reports, training guidance, evaluations, briefings, and more for over 31 years. I started writing my current science fiction and fantasy series in October of 2017. I’ve found that writing fiction is a culture in and of itself. My biggest challenge at first was mastering character dialogue without committing point of view violations. Fortunately, I’ve made many new friends who are authors and have provided dynamic mentorship, like May Dawney, Angel Ramon Medina, William Essex (CEO and Owner of Climbing Tree Books – UK), and Patricia Finney (aka PF Chisholm). Many of my friends and other authors have also assisted by beta reading for me as I write. I’m moving fast forward now, and I am immensely grateful to all who have and still continue to help me as I continue this journey.

3. Are you Traditionally or Indie published? If not yet, what are you considering?

Answer: This is an interesting question that has been discussed extensively within writer groups on Facebook. Traditional seems very difficult to pursue from what I’ve ascertained from other authors. Self-publishing is the easiest, however it does have severe limitations. Hybrid publishing seems the best path to pursue and I’m currently discussing options with a publisher who offers an amazing support package for new authors. I’ll release more on this soon.

4. What writers inspired you? Favorite Authors?

Answer: This is another great question. I’m an avid reader, especially as a history student. Primarily, I read science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, and historical fiction, but if the story is good, I’ll read anything. My favorite authors include Terry Brooks and his “Sword of Shannara” series, Harry Turtledove, Sir Terry Pratchett, T.A. Baron, Patricia Finney, Andrea Lamoureux, May Dawney, and especially Stephen M. Stirling and his “Emberverse” and “Island or Nantucket” series. Richard Adams, author of “Watership Down” is my all time favorite. Regretfully, we lost him in 2016.

You and your story as a writer is very inspiring to me Mary and I cannot wait to read your work!


As to what inspired me, the story concept for my epic series, “Phazed World: A New Beginning” came to me early October of 2017. The ideas and infinite possibilities were overwhelming. I discussed the concept with my wife, Tiffany and my good friends William Essex and Patricia Finney. I even e-mailed the story concept to Stephen M Stirling. All told me I had to write the story and to have fun with it. My immediate Family and friends are all very supportive and encouraging.

5. What is your book/series about (elevator speech or quick tweet post)

Answer: "Phazed World: A New Beginning" © 2017

It is 2025 and the world is on the brink of World War III. The Russians, Chinese, and North Koreans have allied against the United States (US). Russia has massed troops and equipment along its borders with Belarus, Finland, and the Ukraine. Russia and China have massed troops and equipment along with the DMZ between the Koreas. Russia is pressing the US by flying into its airspace. Tension and rhetoric between the nations continue to build, taking us closer to an all-out nuclear war.

Meanwhile, our sun becomes very active in producing sun spots, which usually result in solar flares or even coronal mass ejections (CME) of hundreds of tons of solar plasma. The last major flare activity that produced a significant CME was recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in 2014. In my novel, the sun spots are 7 times larger than those recorded in 2014 and eventually explode, causing a massive CME, 7 plus times larger than ever known. Hundreds of tons of super charged protons bombard the earth within 8-10 minutes of the CME event and the solar plasma is expected to hit within 8-12 hours.

Just as the end of mankind seems certain, an Earth-sized brilliant blue energy sphere suddenly appears by the earth and in the direct path of the colossal solar storm and shields the planet from the barrage of solar plasma. Scientist and leaders of the world declare the planet saved until they realize the sphere is moving to collide with it.

Will the world be destroyed by a nuclear war between the US, Russia, and China or will it be destroyed by the sun? Who will survive and what will the world be like afterwards?

This novel series will keep you on the edge with continuous OMG and definitely a few WTH moments! Stay tuned for more updates. The adventure is just beginning!

More info:

6. What is the setting and genre?

Answer: The story begins on Thanksgiving Day of the year 2025. The US had just elected its first Hispanic President and female Vice-President. Russia’s aggression is fast pushing the world toward war. The genre is science fiction and fantasy.

7. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Answer: Master Sergeant Logan Sanderson (Weapons specialist), who is assigned to Delta Force, G-Squadron. He is age 39, 73 in, 185 lbs, and has black hair. He has a girlfriend named Gail Hinze, who is age 34. Logan is the younger brother of US Air Force Major Mike Sanderson. Logan also has a dog named Max and he is a Husky. Logan leads the exploratory team of civilian scientist, who are sent into the parts of California affected by the impact of the blue energy sphere after it collides with the planet. Logan is a no-nonsense senior enlisted leader, who has a great sense of humor with limits and is very effective at eliminating threats when they arise.

8. What character is most like you?

Answer: Master Sergeant Logan Sanderson. As a retired Army Command Sergeant major it is very easy to write Logan’s actions, thoughts, and dialogue.

9. If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?

Answer: The ability to control and travel through time. How cool would that be? Oh, a Tardis would be an extra bonus!

10. Would you say your book has a message or underlying theme? What is it?

Answer: Treasure your life and those in it today, because the future is not guaranteed and can change very suddenly.

11. How are you marketing your book?

Answer: I author Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts where I share the story concept and excerpts with visuals as I write. I also have a website, which still needs some work. The story is resonating with many science fiction and fantasy fans, so I’m building a robust following as I write. I’m immensely grateful for every “Like” and Follow.” This encourages me to press on and I try to interact with all who are following me.

12. A wonderful thing has happened! Hollywood wants to make a movie of your book! You get to pick the actors & actresses. You want________________for your lead characters.

Answer: Hmmmmm……, Chris Pine for Major Mike Sanderson, Chris Hemsworth as Mike’s little brother Master Sergeant Logan Sanderson, Scarlett Johansson as Brandy Stanton who is the lead scientist on the exploratory team and object of temptation for Logan, Esai Morales as President Hector Gonzales, and Ming-Na Wen as Vice-President Gloria Fuller. I’ll introduce more as I write.

This sounds awesome! Most definitely a movie I hope happens!

13. What music do you hear (what songs) remind you of your story?

Answer: Trivium: “Until the World Goes Cold: and “Strife”

Nightwish: “End of All Hope” and “Ever Dream”

Veridia: “At The End of the World” and “Furious Love”

14. What Favorite foods

Answer: Lasagna (nature’s most perfect food) and BBQ chicken. My biggest weakness is cookies.

15. What makes you laugh/cry?

Answer: I love the three stooges and Family Guy. Sergeants Major never cry. : )

I must admit that I did my share while my lovely wife battled breast cancer. Thankfully, she beat it decisively!

16. What do you want written on your head stone and why?

Answer: Allen V. Cheesman, Husband, Father, and Soldier for Life.

Because I love my wife and kids madly and I will always be a Soldier in my heart.

17. Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

Answer: I am currently a history student at the University of Texas at San Antonio with an expected graduation in December of 2018. I love to watch TV shows and movie with my wife and our daughter. I read and play my X-Box One and 360 when I can. Favorite game is “Gears of War.”

18. What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Answer: There are soooooooo many. Star Trek (ALL, including the fan production on YouTube titled Star Trek Continues), Battlestar Gallactica, Extinct, Z-Nation, The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Outlander, Pinky Blinders, Marco Polo (NetFlix), The Last Kingdom, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Shannara, Spartacus, 12 Monkeys, Black Sails, Warehouse 13, Haven, The Expanse, Terra Nova, The Magicians, The Divergent Movies, all Harry Potter, and many more.

19. If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

Answer: Hard to answer since I’ve already served in the Army and as a Federal Civil Service Employee for 31 years. I’ve served in Army Air Traffic Control, Air Defense Artillery, Recruiting, and in Strategic Communications for Army Medicine. As a kid I dreamt of being an astronaut as I watched the Apollo space flights

20. What are you working on right now?

Answer: An epic new science fiction and fantasy series titled “Phazed World: A New Beginning,” which will run 8-12 plus books.

21. How much research do you do for your novels? Bonus –what’s the weirdest thing you have Googled?

Answer: Extensive research about solar events, NASA operations, military equipment for the US, Russia, and China, and more. Weirdest thing that I have Googled would be my name. It’s interesting to see just how much information is out on the internet about yourself.

22. What’s the scariest thing you have ever done, and did it end up in a story?

Answer: The scariest thing that I have ever done was drive a M998 5 Ton Truck fully loaded with 20mm ammunition at night, in pitch black, and down a hill in the Yakima Training Center with the air brake failure warning going off. I haven’t included this in a story yet, but what a great idea!

23. Name 5 fictional characters you would invite to a dinner party. Where would the party be?

Answer: Allanon (Terry Brooks “Sword of Shannara”), Merlin (TA Baron), Mike Havel (SM Stirling’s “Dies the Fire”), Captain Marian Alston (SM Stirling’s “Island in the Sea of Time”), and Loki (C. Gockel’s “I Bring the Fire” series). The party would be out doors at Stone Henge.

24. What links or website do you have? List them below.

Follow me on:

Twitter at:

Facebook at:

Instagram at:

Contact me at:


0 out of 5 stars

Exceptional world-building and characterization

March 8, 2018

Reviewed by Aaron-Michael Hall

Going Forth by Day by Mary Woldering is the second installment in the Children of Stone series. As with her debut novel (Voices in Crystal), Woldering delivers exceptional world-building and characterization. The intricate details and setting attest to not only the extensive research, but also Woldering’s delight in immersing her readers and herself into this world. Going Forth by Day opens with Marai’s wives: Ariennu, Deka, and Naibe-Ellit, awaiting the return of their beloved husband. Mariai’s sojourn to commune and study under the Great Count Prince Hordjedtef is nearing its end, or so his elder wife, Ariennu, believed. With the Children of Stone’s silence, and recent turbid visions, the sister wives have grown trepidatious. That trepidation amplifies when the inspector priest, Prince Wserkaf, arrives at their home with a contingent of peacekeepers. After receiving some perplexing instructions from her stone, Ariennu prepares her sister wives for a journey that will alter every aspect of their lives. Going Forth by Day details the sister wives’ disparate lives after an inimical separation and numerous perilous circumstances. Ariennu contemplates their futures, and attempts to decipher the Children’s warnings, whilst maneuvering into positions to impede their enemies’ plans, thus reclaiming their lives. Howbeit, the power, position, and manipulations of their ‘captors’ isn’t so easily surmounted. Rife with magic, compelling characters, betrayals, enigmatic prophecies, and awakenings, Going Forth by Day is a fascinating read, laying the foundation for the final novel, Opener of the Sky. I can’t wait to read the climactic end to this diverse and enthralling epic trilogy.

a re-blog of "Are your characters guilty of Frankensteinian actions?"

Autonomous body parts act independently of the person to whom they belong. Like Frankenstein’s monster, this is something you’ll want to avoid!

Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein is a young scientist who creates a grotesque but sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. It’s a well-known story that doesn’t actually involve body parts being grafted together to form a whole, but that’s the version of the monster that became the most famous.

It’s the perfect analogy for this blog’s topic: autonomous body parts in fiction. It sounds like this would never happen to any writer, but here is an example that might change your mind:

The car came around the bend at top speed and Mandy’s hand shot out. “Sarah!”

Sarah’s eyes flew over the frenzied group of people trying to get out of the way. Her foot slid back.

After what felt like an eternity, Mandy’s fingers got a hold of Sarah’s upper arm and yanked.

Every action in the above example is a tiny Frankensteinian creation: body parts doing things without Mandy’s or Sarah’s permission.

Body parts operating independently can create confusion, and they take the focus away from the character. Mandy and Sarah are doing all these things, after all, not their body parts. Autonomous body parts can also produce hilarious images in the minds of the reader, like those of eyeballs flying around the room, hands shooting off the character’s wrists, and feet clicking off ankles and moonwalking away.

Here is a rewrite of the scene above where the body parts of these characters stay firmly in place:

The car came around the bend at top speed and Mandy reached out on instinct. “Sarah!”

Sarah’s gaze flew over the heads of the frenzied group of people trying to get out of the way. She stepped back.

After what felt like an eternity, Mandy got a hold of Sarah’s upper arm and she yanked.

“Autonomous body parts can produce hilarious images in the minds of the reader, like those of eyeballs flying around the room, hands shooting off the character’s wrists, and feet clicking off ankles and moonwalking away.“

While autonomous body parts are frowned upon, there are instances where autonomous bodily reactions are all right to use. When we get angry, we might ball our hands into fists even when we have no intention of hitting someone. Our eyes fill with tears when we are sad, even if we don’t want to cry. When we are scared, like in the example above, our heart might race or pound, and we might start to sweat. These are reactions we can’t control, so they are, indeed, autonomous.

Mandy’s throat tightened. Her heart beat out of control. After what felt like an eternity, she got a hold of Sarah’s upper arm and she yanked her back. Mandy’s ears popped as the car blew past.

All of these bodily reactions are autonomous reactions to fear and stress, or in the case of Mandy’s ears, a pressure shift caused by air displacement. Mandy couldn’t stop them from occurring even if she tried, so they are allowed. Autonomous bodily functions can even draw the reader deeper into the experience, as long as you don’t overuse them.

“While autonomous body parts are frowned upon, there are instances where autonomous bodily reactions are all right to use.“

In the same spirit as accepted autonomous bodily functions, there are situational exceptions to the ban on autonomously acting body parts. “Her eyes rolled” is an example of an autonomous body part action when we’re reading about a frustrated teenager (the correct version would be “she rolled her eyes”), but if we’re talking about Sarah’s eyes rolling back after the car hits her, it’s an accepted action because it’s an outward symptom of loss of consciousness.

Autonomous body parts are also accepted when the POV character doesn’t know who the body part belongs to. Let’s look at the example scene from before, but from Sarah’s point of view. She is watching a car speed toward her and suddenly someone yanks on her arm. There is a good chance Sarah won’t put two and two together and figure out Mandy was the one tugging at her until after the crash. Here, an autonomous body part mention is allowed:

A hand gripped her arm and yanked on it.

“There are situational exceptions to the ban on autonomously acting body parts.“

There is another Frankensteinian concoction that is best avoided: the self-conscious body part. These identifiers call attention to the body part in question and are always superfluous. The best examples are shrugging one’s shoulders and blinking one’s eyes. Shoulders are, by definition, the only parts of our bodies that can be shrugged; eyes are, by definition, the only parts of our bodies that can blink (and even then, it would be more accurate to say that one’s eyelids blink, which would make the sentence even more awkward). When you say “he shrugged” and “she blinked,” the reader will know which body parts perform the action.

Before I end this post, I must make note of one more, somewhat related, issue: even when it’s not technically an autonomous body part action, you can’t do things to body parts that are intrinsically interwoven with another. I read this sentence today, from the point of view of someone watching it happen:

His face hit the floor.

Unless it’s a horror novel in which the knife-wielding maniac cuts the skin off someone’s skull and that slab dropped to the floor, this is impossible. Your face is a part of your head. Your head can hit the floor, or you can fall on your face, you can even “hit the floor, face first,” but your face will never hit the floor unless it’s cut off. You also wouldn’t get your palm slammed between the door and the doorframe, for example. It’s a part of your hand that doesn’t stick out.

“You can’t do things to body parts that are intrinsically interwoven with another.”

Once you start recognizing Frankensteinian actions like these, you’ll never be able to unsee them, either in your own writing or in anyone else’s. This is good! It’ll help you write in a way that keeps the focus on the characters, and their body parts where they belong!

Mid March releases MIracles Not Included March 7, 2018 C A King Frostbitten March10-18 Destiny Hawkins G D Gorri March 15, 2018

March 19 National Certified Nurses Day Allan’s Character Logan Sanderson Raquel Byrnes

More Reviews and Characters!

And Much Much More

Featured Posts