Monday, October 22, 2012

Presenting Author, Susan Kay Box Brunner

Author, Susan Kay Box Brunner and I might have been girlhood friends because we ran in glancing circles, shared mutual friends, attended the same high school—she married the brother of a young man with whom I entertained a passing fancy—she knew my brother, but never me, except through reputation.  Despite all of these circumstances, we actually met only a few months ago when I attended my first meeting of the Grove City Writers’ Group, a local organization of writers, editors, and reviewers of which she is a member in long standing.  Ours is a supportive group.  In addition to sponsoring and promoting young writers, we share information and resources, as well as organize group book fairs and other writing-related programs.  We also do our best to show up at special events benefiting one another as individuals.

                Susan’s next event is a book signing and reading on November 9, 2012 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Eternity Books & Gifts located in the Grove City Nazarene Church, 4770 Hoover Road, Grove City, Ohio 43123.  I am also happy to lend my support to Susan in her writing efforts by featuring her as my guest author this week.  

Tell us…who are you…where do you live…what do you do on a daily basis?

My name is Susan Kay Box Brunner and I am a Christian Author living in Grove City, Ohio.  I write, read, pray, and walk daily.               

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing and/or promoting your book/books?

I participate as a teacher, leader, and substitute listener in the worldwide, non-denominational club to encourage the physical, mental, and spiritual welfare of children known as AWANA, an acronym for  Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, a phrase taken from the Bible.

How did it happen that you wanted to become a writer?

Fictional people, events, happenings, along with life, came to mind and I had to write.

What advice do you have for aspiring, or new, writers?

Never give up on your dreams.  Seek God’s will, libraries, and skilled people.

In what genre is your most recent book classified?  What is the source of its title?

Inspirational romance, mystery, and adventure.  Title source:  Character’s first name and happenings.

Give us a short excerpt of it.

Sara’s Adventures:  The stewards gave quick precise directions for crashing.  Sara felt sick.  Her stomach rolled and her head felt light.  Sara glanced up, fingering for the oxygen mask, but the mask was nowhere in sight.  She felt a strong hand on her neck.  A mask was shoved over her face.  The voice said, “Breathe.”  Sara noticed it was Claudia as her mind floated.

How is your book different than others of this genre?

Although fiction, it could be real in anyone’s life.  Both Karen and Sara draw you into their lives as extended families.

What inspired you to write it?

In 5th grade, substitute teacher, Mrs. Cornilish read to her students daily.  The stories would come alive.  It burned a desire deep within me to story tell.

Do you have any works in progress, and if so, give us an overview?

Tit for Tat:  Individuals cross paths through family, friends, and business.  They are an eclectic group.  They are faced with circumstances which leave them only with God to lean on…but do they?  How will they respond?  With back-biting and selfishness?  Will old habits remain?

The Cottage:  Who would have thought that five-some friendship fledging out of a grade school cafeteria in Richmond, Virginia, would have life-long impact?  Did life go as expected?  Did they all stay best friends? 

What else do you want our readers to know about you, or your current book?

I enjoy speaking engagements, book readings/signings with audience participation.  My next book reading and signing will be held on November 9, 2012 at Eternity Books & Gifts located in the Grove City Nazarene Church, 4770 Hoover Road Grove City, Ohio 43123.  Time: 6:30-8:30 PM.

Where can people buy your book/books? (; (;, or at Eternity Books & Gifts, 614-305-2037.

Monday, October 15, 2012

For Love of Redheads

"We redheads are a minority—we tend to notice each other—you know, and notice our identity." Julianne Moore, actress
Despite the fact that less than 4% of the population of human beings on earth has naturally occurring red hair, most commonly in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, Australia and the USA, as is apparent in this circa 1976 photograph of my mother, Roma, my two sisters, Susan and Sherri, and me (the blonde on the left), I have been surrounded by redheads for my entire life—and it doesn’t stop with the three of them.  My paternal grandmother was a redhead, as was my maternal grandfather.  Among my redheaded mother’s seven siblings, four of them also had red hair, as does one of my paternal first cousins.  On top of all of that (pun intended), of my two grandchildren, the younger one is a redhead.  Even though the hair color is the product of a genetic mutation manifest in the recessive gene, MC1R on the 16th chromosome, it is the dominant one in my family.
The redheads in my family are in a lot of good company beginning with the speculation that Adam himself was a redhead, justified by his “red-earth” beginnings and the Hebrew word “adom” meaning “red.”  Adam’s first wife, Lilith, you know the one who was kicked out of Eden because she refused to be subordinate to Adam (which is code for her refusing to lie beneath him in bed), was also—you guessed it—a redhead, as well as a sister of my soul and all other feminists!  In Michelangelo’s Temptation, Eve is a blonde, but after she eats the apple, naughty Eve is a redhead.  Then there was Alexander the Great; DaVinci; Lafayette; Mary Queen of Scots; Nero; Helen of Troy; Aphrodite/Venus; Napoleon; Vincent Van Gogh; George Washington; Thomas Jefferson; Andrew Jackson; Henry VIII; Galileo; Emily Dickinson; Katherine Hepburn; Maureen O’Hara; Susan Hayward (my mother’s favorite); Robert Redford; Nicole Kidman; Little Orphan Annie; Wilma and Pebbles Flintstone; and on and on and on.
            Now, I can hear in my mind’s ear all of you gents of our greatest generation mumbling under your breaths, “But Linda, you forgot to include the most beautiful redhead of all.  What about our own Love Goddess, Rita Hayworth?  Why, she almost singlehandedly won World War II in terms of the motivation she was to all of us guys to bring home victory for God, country and Rita Hayworth, in that order!”       
I hate to burst your bubbles, fellas, but underneath all of that red tint on her head, Rita was a raven-haired beauty.  “It was the turning point in my career.  As soon as I became a redhead, things began to happen for me,” Rita is on record as stating. 
"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead." –Lucille Ball, actress
Both of my gorgeous, redheaded sisters were born under the sign of Libra, and since we are currently in the Libran cycle, in celebration of their birthdays, I thought it would be fun to explore some of the myths and legends of redheads, both familiar and obscure.  This is not intended to be an exposé on my sisters, therefore I will withhold my views as to whether or not any of the characteristics fit them—no doubt they would dislike my assessments anyway, and then I would have to spend the rest of my days making amends to them.  Besides, my dance card in that respect is full enough, therefore I’m really watching my P’s and Q’s in that department.  I’ll wimp out right now and state emphatically that my only goal is to bring a bit of enjoyment to them, and to the rest of you fabulous redheads out there.       
            Among the inestimable traits of human beings, red hair has provoked more passion than any of them.  Passion is the operative word since the most well-known myth about redheads is that they are fiery and hot-tempered, an idea probably spawned from the fact that Scots, with their high percentage of persons with red tresses are descended from ferocious, warrior Celts.  To a great extent, the spate of controversial notions about the hair color is credited to that source, and it is aptly illustrated by a judge in Ireland who in 2001 stated to a redheaded man charged with disorderly conduct, “I am a firm believer that hair coloring has an effect on temper and your coloring suggests you have a bad temper.”  Maybe this is why Mark Twain once quipped, “…while the rest of the human race was descended from monkeys, redheads derive from cats.”  Since his hair was red before it turned the white with which we are most familiar, he should know.        
“Red on the Head, Fire in the Bed” –Unknown
Another well-known perception is that redheads are more highly sexed than the rest of us.  According to the myth, it is the color of their hair that makes them do it—it is a mark of uncontrollable bestial sexual cravings and relapses in moral conduct.  For these reasons, Satan is often portrayed as red of hair.  "It is observed that the red-haired of both sexes are more libidinous and mischievous than the rest, whom yet they much exceed in strength and activity," wrote Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels.  Swift is validated by Dr. Werner Habermehl, a Hamburg sex researcher.  The good doctor postulates that women with red hair have more sex than other women, outdoing brunettes who have more brains and blondes who have more fun.  Wait a minute!  If blondes have more fun, isn’t it a foregone conclusion that they also have more sex?  I take it that in this instance sex is categorized as something other than fun.   
Attention you guys out there!  If the woman-of-a-different-hair-color in your life dyes her hair red, she’s signaling her dissatisfaction with your performance in the sack and is on the hunt for something spicier in her life.  There must be a lot of discontentment on the female sides of conjugal beds in the western world because according to a Clairol survey, more women dye their hair red than any other color—thirty percent of us will be redheads at some point in our lives.  But then again, the trend might be related to male preferences:  “My husband said he wanted to have a relationship with a redhead, so I dyed my hair red,” actress, Jane Fonda admitted once upon a time.  I wonder which husband it was?!  I bet it was that scrumptious, Roger Vadim.  I’d dye my hair for him, too, no problem! 
            It seems that Groucho Marx also had a thing for redheads.  In a letter to his sick son, Marx wrote, “According to the wire, you are resting well and being taken care of by a nurse.  I hope she is beautiful and that she has red hair.  I don’t know why, but whenever I dream of a nurse she always has red hair.  Red hair makes a man want to recover his health quickly so that he can get on his feet and get the nurse off hers.”  On the other hand, writer Sylvia Plath would have known what to do with guys like Vadim and Marx.  “Out of the ash, I rise with my red hair, and eat men like air,” she wrote.
“There was never a saint with red hair.” –Russian Proverb
While Russian tradition advocates that redheads are fiery-tempered and crazy, it didn’t prevent such controversial Asian redheads as Genghis Khan, Lenin and Stalin from rising to dizzying heights.  Only artistic interpretations of Genghis exist, but Persian historian, Rashid-al-Din stated in his Chronicles that the legendary "glittering" ancestor of Genghis was tall, long-bearded, red-haired, and green-eyed.  Rashid al-Din also described the first meeting of Genghis and his grandson, Kublai Khan, when Genghis was shocked to find that Kublai had not inherited his red hair.  Genghis shouldn’t have despaired because chances are that the red hair gene manifested down the line somewhere.  There is a commonly-held belief that redheads will become extinct in one hundred years or so, but according to a recent report in National Geographic, more than likely, the numbers will decline rather than disappear. 
These “glittering people” might be fewer in number, but they are mighty—as evidence, the Manchu ruling caste in old China who were predominantly red of hair, and the ancient mummified remains in western China where the majority of them are of people with red hair.  In addition to the legend that King David was a redhead, in the earliest images of Jesus done on frescoes and murals in the Middle East, His dark hair has a red tone to it, identified in the spectrum of colors as auburn.  The Prophet Muhammad is credited with possessing red hair, a speculation validated by Muslims who dye their hair and beards with henna in emulation of the Prophet.   Many religious leaders of orthodox Islam also use henna to tint their beards red.  Legends abound of giant, red haired Native American tribes in present-day Texas, Utah and Nevada.  Scientists recently reported that the gene for red hair also was present in the Neanderthal—that‘s good enough odds for my money that redheads aren’t about to vanish from our midst. 
                Besides, redheads might be too mean to die—there may be justification for “gingerphobia,” or “fear of redheads.”  Some Bible scholars posit that Judas was a redhead, and even that the ‘Mark of Cain’ was red-pigmented hair.  Even though it is thought that Ramses the Great was a redhead, the color of red was deemed unlucky in those ancient times, and redheaded Egyptian maidens were burned to death in an effort to eliminate the tint.  In addition, the prevailing belief during the Middle Ages was that the color red was the sign of the Devil, and that children born with red hair were the result of unclean sexual relations during menstruation.  Ancient Greeks believed that redheads turned into vampires when they died, and during the Inquisition, the Spanish burned redheads at the stake because they held that their coloring was proof that they were witches and had stolen the fires of hell.  If you are a redhead, the Corsicans won’t burn you at the stake, but they will spit and turn around if you pass them on the street.  That might be more dangerous to your health than getting too close to a bull pen of the Yankees. 
                The modern age has continued to greet redheaded people with suspicion and prejudice as seen in the policy of the Nazis to prevent redheads from marrying in order to forestall their bringing degenerate offspring into their lily-white Arian Nation.
Blondes are noticed, but redheads are never forgotten.” –Unknown
Who can forget redheaded, King Arthur and his flame-haired, Guinivere?  The founder of Camelot was believed the answer to the British legend that a redhead would rise to lead the country in a time of trouble, a fable that can just as easily be applied to redheads, Elizabeth I and Sir Winston Churchill.  The Merovingian rulers of ancient Gaul were said to derive their royal powers and military prowess from their long hair.  Renowned for his thick, golden-red hair (strawberry blond, in the parlance of today) was Childeric III, the last of the Merovingian kings.  The custom was for men of the Early Middle Ages to wear their hair at, or near, the shoulders, making Childeric's mane, with its striking color and length, a major asset, and possibly his greatest claim to the throne.  Pepin, Childeric’s most powerful and craftiest rival for the throne, reasoning that the psychological impact of cutting Childeric's famed hair would be critical in bringing an end to the dynasty, captured the king and sheared his head bald.  To secure his challenge, Pepin also shaved the head of Theuderic, Childeric’s son, whose blond tresses reached to his waist.  Pepin’s strategy worked.  In the eyes of their countrymen, when Childeric and Theuderic lost their hair, they also lost their royal mystique and the throne.
                "All throughout history, from Reubens to Robbins, redheads have been recognized as a rare breed.  Blondes may have more fun, brunettes may be brainier, but when it comes down to raw energy, creativity, and personality, you just can't beat a redhead, well, you can, but beware—she'll probably beat you back!"  –Redheads Unlimited
            "Nobody who has known a redhead can say that redheads are tame.  Even shy redheads have a burning spark of adventure inside them. Opinionated, hotheaded, logical, loyal, friendly, reserved, whatever the redheads' personality, you can bet they'll have SCADS of it!" –Review of the Redhead Encyclopedia
"I do believe my redheadedness plays a huge part in who I am.  If I were a blonde or brunette, I would be an entirely different person." –Unknown
            "It's not the hair that turns men on, it's the spirit that redheads exude." –Unknown
             "Gentlemen may prefer blondes, but it takes a real man to handle a redhead." –Unknown
             "I used to hate my red hair, but now I love the attention I get with it.  I think that very smart, daring men love red hair, and I love that in a man." –Unknown
            “Blondes are wild, brunettes are true, but you never know just what a redhead will do!” –Unknown
"When a fellow has a home and a dear little, red-haired wife in it, what more need he ask of life?" –Gilbert in Anne's House of Dreams
An aside about henna that I find interesting is that it has been used for 6,000 years to dye hair, skin, finger- and toenails, wool and leather to various shades of red beginning with orange and then darkening over a three-day period to reddish-brown.  It is known to have been common in ancient Egypt, India, Africa, and the Middle East to apply henna to the hair.  Since the Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean it has been accepted practice to apply henna as body art in the context of marriage and fertility rites—the earliest references are of women adorning their bodies with henna markings in preparation to meet their husbands.   
During the 1800s it was used as a hair dye among women connected with the aesthetic movement, Renoir’s famous painting Daydreams of the lovely young actress, Jeanne Samary sporting saucy, henna-dyed hair is one case in point.  Images such as this rendered by Renoir and his fellow Impressionist painters were instrumental in popularizing the hair color among adventurous women, but the most credit goes to famous, as well as notorious, women of the time such as opera singer, Adelina Patti, and to the Parisian courtesan, Cora Pearl, known as La Lune Rousse (the red moon) who not only applied henna to hair, but also to the coat of her little dog.  And who can forget the most famous housewife of all time, Lucille Ball’s “henna rinsed” Lucy Ricardo on American television in I Love Lucy? 
            Aside from the recessive genes from which redheads spring, as well as their susceptibility to sunburns and cancers of the skin, they are attributed with other documented physical differences.  Due to the fact that each strand of their hair is thicker than other hair, they have fewer hairs on their heads than do persons with different colors of hair.  It is also held that redheads are more prone to developing Parkinsons Disease.  Typically, redheads also require twenty percent more anesthesia during medical procedures.  In addition, rather than turning gray with advancing age, red hair turns yellowish, then white due to a phenomenon whereby the hair pales with time.     
The mystique of redheads cannot be denied, and life would be much less colorful without them. With everyone who loves a redhead, I add my voice to the Gaelic declaration, “Ruadh gu brath!" meaning, "Redheads forever!”
To order my latest novel, Guardians and Other Angels, either in paperback or in eBook for your PC or Kindle, log onto  To read excerpts of it, as well as of my co-authored novel, Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams, and my future books, log onto
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Monday, October 8, 2012

I Want to be Like the Bee

One of the fun and fulfilling aspects of being a blogger is that inevitably, through the magic of the virtual world, one finds other bloggers.  As a matter of fact, like pieces of precious glass in my china closet, I’ve begun to collect bloggers, and I store away snippets of their wisdom, their humor, their insights in a special file—I learn something new from at least one of them almost every day.  To date, most of the bloggers I follow are writers like me, and like me, much of their daily work involves making use of avenues of reaching the audiences who will enjoy reading their books.  Writing a blog is one of those means.  However, I’ve discovered a funny thing about these people:  I’ve found them to be a bighearted lot of human beings, generous in their validation, their support, their promotion of other authors, and many of them devote their blogs to this purpose, either exclusively, or like me, occasionally.

            My good friend and associate, Connecticut resident, DeEtte Anderton, the author/blogger who is my guest today is among the most giving of all of the people with whom I have forged virtual relationships.   She was among the first readers to write a review of my book, GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS, and her championing of me has not waivered since that time.  Her first novel, Victory is slated for release soon by Master Koda Select Publishing (, and in her own words, “Victory is the story about a small American town and the people who live there.  Brown Eyes, an orphan, lives with her only known relative, a cousin, who has had a rough life herself.  A visitor comes to Victory with ideas to improve the town.  Another stranger also comes to town.  As one of them moves in with fear and control, God’s hand moves within the town, even at its darkest hour.  The other is instrumental in saving the town, and especially Brown Eyes.  It is a story of faith and freedom and the love of God.”

                I was so impressed with DeEtte’s blog posting, “I Want to be Like the Bee” that I asked her if I could publish it in its entirety on my blog.  It is a good sampling of the contents of the heart and mind, as well as of the writing style, of this brilliant author.  Her blog address is:    

I Want to be Like the Bee

by DeEtte Anderton

Have you ever watched a bee fly from flower to flower, gathering pollen?  They don’t think about flying, or making honey.  They just do it.  It’s what they were meant to do.  In the process, flowers are pollinated and in a few weeks, there are fruits, vegetables, and grain. When the bees go back to their hives, they don’t say to one another, “You are sure stupid for going out every day, gathering pollen and making honey. You know others steal it for their own use.  It’s futile.  You shouldn’t go out there.”
        I don’t really know what bees do “talk” about with each other, except for their dance where they indicate where the good food source is.  They support one another.
        Too often we, and I am including myself, let other people determine what we do, where we put our energies, what goals and desires we allow ourselves to strive for.  We let their words and attitudes, either cheer us on, or discourage us to the point we won’t even try.  We measure ourselves by their thoughts, not what we think or hope or even know.
        I am trying, more and more, to take Mark Twain’s advice and keep away from those who would negatively influence me, and gravitate more toward those whom I can trust to support me and encourage me.  I am so thankful for my great friends who do encourage me.  I try to pick up on the words of affirmation I read and apply them to myself. It isn’t always easy.  I struggle with low self-esteem.  But I have started several new journeys this past year, and I intend to see them through.
        Publishing my first book is one of those journeys. The writing part wasn’t so hard.  I started writing at my son’s suggestion.  I was going to keep my writing to myself.  After all, I had heard too many voices say I couldn’t finish anything, I couldn’t do this or that. I finished writing the story and kept it on my computer for over four years, knowing it was there, hidden away, safe and sound where no one could criticize it–or love it.  Finally, in January 2012, a good friend, one whom I trust, told me to go for it.  Her encouragement meant so much.   I brought the story “out of storage” and started to polish it up. It took a lot for me to finally hit the button to send my work, my baby, my story off to be published, out into the world to be read and judged by anyone who chose to do so.  I was trembling when I finally sent it on.
        And now, in a few weeks, it will be published.  Yes, I still find that thought intimidating at times.  And there are times I want to snatch it back and hide it again, pretending it never existed.  But I have a wonderful group of friends who encourage me, and nudge me forward even when we all know it is so hard for me.  They don’t know it, but they are also blocking my way of retreat.  I respect them too much to stop now.  Scientists say that the bumble bee isn’t supposed to fly because its wings are too small, but the bee doesn’t listen to the naysayers.  It just does what it was made to do.  I want to become like that bee and just fly how I was meant to fly.
Reflect today on the ways your friends keep you on track, and thank them in some way. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Two Young Heroes

Based on the best-selling semi-autobiography of the same name by James Graham Ballard (he wrote under J. G. Ballard), as James “Jamie” Graham, thirteen-year-old actor, Christian Bale appears on the screen of EMPIRE OF THE SUN in his knickers and designated schoolboy blazer and cap, his hectic British cheeks a clue to the grit that smoldered within the factual character he is playing, a true grit the equal of John Wayne on his best day.  But to realize it, he has to be tested, and tested he is to the utmost in this remarkable action-packed, and at the same time, sensitively drawn, epic, an epic film and an epic book, both of them among my favorites. 

For four years having been engaged in a brutal, but undeclared, defensive action against Japan’s invasion of its borders, by 1941, the towns and cities of China are falling like tandem dominoes at the hands of the oppressors.  As members of the long-established, upper-class, British citizens of Shanghai, Jamie and his parents are protected under the Diplomatic Security of the International Settlement, but as the incursion by the Japanese mounts, nobody is safe, not even the Westerners behind their gated checkpoints.  On the same day as Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor, among throngs of the like-minded of every station of life in the city and surrounding countryside, the little Graham family tries to escape Shanghai, and during the stampede, Jamie becomes separated from his parents. 

The streets erupt into a war-zone.  While dodging the bullets of the fighters and defending himself against a bullying Shanghai street urchin, Jamie is rescued by a wily American merchant-seaman named Basie, brilliantly portrayed by John Malkovich in the film.   Basie declares “Jamie” to be “Jim” thereafter, and in those short hours of that afternoon, young Jim crosses into another world, not only physically, but also intellectually and spiritually, as Basie and his devotees, Jim among them, end up prisoners of war in Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center, and later in Suzhou Creek, two Japanese internment camps.  It is in the camps that we witness the transformation of “Jamie” into “Jim” in this outstanding coming-of-age story.  Thirteen-year-old, Christian Bale as “Jim” is pictured here in the film version of the story.     
             In many guises appear coming-of-age stories and of this genre, there is another one that is nearer and dearer to me still.  It is a simpler, yet as dramatic a story, and even though it took place in the same timeframe as James Graham Ballard’s adventure, it wasn’t carried in the newspapers of its time, nor to date, on a DVD.  But the story is in a book now—it is in my latest novel, GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS (  Bussy Gaffin is the name of the young hero in my book.  He is pictured here with his dog, Track on what is believed to have been June 16, 1942, his seventeen birthday. 

 In the most noteworthy of coming-of-age stories, a relentless monster, not of his/her own making, is pursuing the protagonist.  In Jim’s case, with the loss of parents and home, and the dangers, the brutality of war, the monster is hunger, disease, death, the demise of hope, of compassion, of tenderness and concurrent humanitarian impulses.  Debilitating illness, worsened by the difficulties and privations of the Great Depression and the consequences of World War II in the USA, is Bussy’s cross to bear.  But in his own loss of childhood, his monster is similar to Jim’s, as is his transformation, a conversion portrayed in his quiet courage and determination to carve a place for himself among his robust siblings and peers, and in his stoic efforts to embrace the things that give him purpose and hope.  If you are like me, you will fall in love with both of these inspiring, young heroes.

Take a moment to think about the young heroes in your life and endorse them in some way by reading their books, or watching their films, or writing a book about them, or by giving them a hug or a call, or devoting a few moments of quiet contemplation to their memories.  No matter where they are, they will get the message.        

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