Books I’m Reading


I’ve read two manuscripts in the past week and have started to read a friend’s newly published book. The two manuscripts are very different in genre but I enjoyed both immensely. I’m only a couple of chapters into the third story, but enjoying it as well.

The first of the manuscripts is a novel by Deek Rhew titled “122 Rules”. It will be published sometime this year and I look forward to promoting it and reading other people’s opinions. What is genuinely unique about it is the blending of genres and the strength of the female characters. Deek’s an interesting person. I’ve spoken with him a few times. He has a warped sense of humor and a different perspective on the world that comes through at times into his writing as he points out the irony in his characters’ situations. The book is anything but a typical crime, detective, police thing. It blends in a healthy dose of suspense along with some of the attributes of a good spy thriller. Yet it is told in an entertaining and memorable manner that lingers days after and one recalls some of the more unusual aspects of the story.

The second manuscript is a Regency period romance novel titled Love’s Misadventure by Cheri Champagne. Generally I’m not a huge fan of romance novels but there have been exceptions that I’ve read over the past few years. I still follow the postings of a couple of my friends from FanStory, Margaret Snowdon and Phyllis Stewart. The previous writes romances set in Victorian England. The latter writes quirky situation romantic tales set in contemporary times. Cheri’s novel is atypical of the romance genres and includes a lot of adventure that kept my attention throughout. It is well written and a pleasure to read. Despite the time period in which it is set the lead female character, Anna, is strong willed and drives the plot. The main male characters are noble while there are some vile, unsavory villains as well. It will be one of the easiest books for me to promote. It has a little something ror everyone, containing all the elements of a good bodice ripping tale while filled with the political intrigue of spies. The key characters are kidnapped in an effort to punish another main character. There’s a lot to like about it making it an enjoyable read.

Both manuscripts have sequels coming, by the way.

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The recently published book I’m diving into is titled Norma Jean’s School of Witchery. It is a Young Adult novel from my friend Rose Montague who I have previously named an honorary Panda since she knows many of the other Pandamoon Publishing authors though she is working with another small publisher. Besides that, she is really great person to know and always willing to promote the work of other authors.


A little over a year ago, she published a YA novel titled Jade, which I  read, enjoyed and posted a review around a year ago. The novel is not your typical supernatural triller. Jade is a complex character with many intriguing abilities and an alternative lifestyle. The Sequel, Jane, was published about a month ago and is on my reading list for when I finish her present novel.

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The reason I’m reading Norma Jean’s School of Witchery first is kind of selfish. Rose told me there is a character in the book named Elgon. It’s not everyday that a guy named Elgon finds a namesake. Now you might be thinking that some people will do anything to get a Five Star Review, right? But seriously, Rose has an engaging writing style that I have enjoyed previously and I expect nothing less than an outstanding story from her with this book.

Judging from what I’ve heard from other people who follows Rose’s writing, Jane should be read prior to Norma Jean’s School of Witchery because there are a couple of spoilers contained in the latter. Oh well, I’ve made my selection and prioritized the reading list. I’ll post a review when I finish.

#DeekRhew #122Rules #CheriChampagne #LovesMisadventure #RoseMontague #NormaJeansSchoolOfWitchery #Jade #Jane #Reading #NewBooks #YA #Regency Romance #Crime #Suspense





Overcoming Things – Being A Slow Reader

Have you ever responded to one of those social media challenges to tell some obscure fact  about you or answer the question, I wish I could go back to when I was younger and tell myself… I have a response that straddles both criteria. I have dyslexia and if I could go back to when I was a bashful, stammering five-year-old I’d let me know that it’s okay.

There’s an advantage to perceiving things in ways others don’t, can’t or won’t. It’s just my mind is wired differently and because of that I think outside of the box – really I live outside of the box. I won’t often fit in, but again that’s fine because, in the words of the great Groucho Marx, I’ve never wanted to belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member.


Here’s the deal. I have a disability. If most people were honest they would admit to having a disability too. Sometimes I wonder if everyone doesn’t have something going on and perhaps the disabilities, challenges of whatever you want to term them are really gifts in a way. You see, being different and accepting who and what you are liberates you from ever having to conform to being like everyone else in their miserable lots.

My dyslexia went undiagnosed largely because of the rural area where I grew up. Maybe it wasn’t a well-known disability back in the late 50’s and early 60’s – when I was a little kid. Because of it I struggled with reading in the conventional way it was taught. In fact reading in class when I was first grader was a painful experience in public ridicule as I stammered and stalled trying to make it to the end of a sentence  – let along a paragraph. With no positive reinforcement I considered reading torment and prayed the teacher would not call on me to read aloud. To this day, over fifty years later, I struggle when called upon to read aloud.


You might think it funny or ironic that a published author suffered from what is now considered a learning disability, albeit it a mild one if identified early on. When I tell people I hated reading it surprises them because, after all, authors write books and promote literacy and all that. The key is I hated reading, not that I hate it now.

What turned the tables for me was a second grade teacher who chose to read a story to the class. In anticipation of Christmas she read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. And over the course of her daily reads to the class I got it. I understood the magic contained in words. A story well told can conjure images in the mind and, if hearing read words can do that so can learning to read them myself. I was determined to learn how to read even if I couldn’t do it the way they were teaching me in school.

I figured I needed to learn words at a glance. That would speed up the process of reading them if I didn’t have to sound them out. So, in effect, I taught myself how to read silently – meaning i didn’t sound out the world in my head. The benefit of immediately recognizing and knowing the meaning of a word without sounding it out was that I could read considerably faster than my peers who were using a traditional approach. Still, I struggled whenever called upon to read aloud in class. Over time, from memorizing words, I got better at making the connection between my eyes and mouth but it took years and, as i have said already, I still struggle with it.


By the time I reached the 6th grade I could read at a rate of 400 words per minute. I know that because my sixth grade teacher called me out, thinking that anyone who struggled as much as I did with reading aloud – and was officially branded a slow reader – could not possibly be on the same reading level as the best reader in the class on the self paced Science Reacher Associates modules. In fact I was actually a little ahead of her.

My integrity was questioned and my mother got directly in the middle between my teacher and the principal, the latter administering a simple test. He gave me an adult reading level novel, one that he had read, and started me out on a random page and told me to read for one minute. After turning several pages the time limit expired. He asked me what I’d just read. Although there were a few words I didn’t know, I got the gist of the story well enough that he was convinced I read it. Then he asked me what page I was on at the end. He made a simple word per page calculation and arrived at the conclusion that I was reading at 400 to 450 words per minute.

Despite overcoming the disability I still really didn’t enjoy reading, not until high school. By then I had discovered science fiction and fantasy and had begun to have favorite authors whose every book I read.


It was in college that I became an avid reader, out of necessity as I challenged myself to take literature courses. One year I read over 400 books, not counting the text books for my other classes.

I don’t think I have ever felt like I am a strong reader but learning to read was essential to my growth as a person and my adventure in becoming a writer. Sometime you have to take your problems as challenges and figure out how to become the master of your situation.

#Reading #Dyslexia #Disability #Overcoming #Writing #Author #GrouchoMarx