Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review of TO FAME’S PROUD CLIFF by Bob W. Dunbar

In the early decades of the nineteenth century, the United States of America was in its adolescence, comprised primarily of its Eastern Seaboard and easternmost Midwest regions. Other than bustling New Orleans, the Louisiana Purchase was “unorganized” land; the Oregon Country threatened to become another colony of the British Empire; and the Southwest, including California, was under Mexican rule, as was present-day Texas. The Caucasian population of the United States at the time, driven by its fierce sense of nationalism, rationalized its greed for expansion. Its burning desire was a nation of uninterrupted land from the east-to-west coasts, and north-to-south from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Author Bob W. Dunbar, in his fine book TO FAME’S PROUD CLIFF, addresses a portion of America’s expansion story as it unfolded through the lives of two giants among men then, namely Andrew Jackson and Samuel Houston. Although deeply flawed in their separate personal aspects, as well as controversial, then as now, in their respective world-views, the two men were steadfast cohorts responsible in fundamental ways for much of the territorial growth of the United States.         
As a writer of historical fiction, I am well-aware of an author’s challenge in taking the two-dimensional historical figures as written in school books and expanding them into three-dimensional characters for a novel. In TO FAME’S PROUD CLIFF, Dunbar has created flesh-and-blood characters that are so real they practically jump off the page. As portrayed in this book, Houston’s yearning for a “big” life captures the imagination of the reader and recruits him/her to that epic endeavor. Houston’s uncompromising commitment to his mentor and surrogate father-figure Andrew Jackson also bends the reader’s will to the same cause. And the reader gets drunk, depressed, discouraged, wounded, sober, energized, renewed, and healed in tandem with Houston by way of Dunbar’s capable hand.
In addition, a writer’s job is to create sympathetic protagonists, and despite my ingrained prejudice against Andrew Jackson, wrought by the Cherokee blood coursing my veins, after reading TO FAME’S PROUD CLIFF, although not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt exactly, I am willing to entertain the notion that alongside his quest for glory and immortality in enlarging his country, a smidgen of altruism existed in Jackson’s Indian Removal policies, if for no other reason than to save the indigenous people from total extinction at the hands of individual whites. That too, is the rationale Dunbar gave me in response to my Facebook Private Message to him on the issue of Jackson vs Native Americans. Maybe Dunbar’s speculation on this matter fills the gap in what reasonably should have been irreconcilable differences between Jackson and Houston, that of Jackson’s seeming inhumane attitude toward Native Americans and Houston’s love of, and devotion to, them. For a time in his youth, and again in later years, Houston actually lived among the Cherokee—was an adopted son of the Cherokee Chief Oolooteka (Ahuludegi), also called “John Jolly” by European Americans. And among Jackson’s three children, all of whom were adopted, two of them were Native Americans. Of course, altruism does not necessarily explain his choice of progeny. I guess, one of my points here is that this book has caused me to ponder, and to consider searching for more information on its topic.          
                That Dunbar engaged in meticulous research of the historical period depicted in this book is apparent. His rendition of that history is couched in a well-written story that is informative and engaging. It held my interest from its opening page to its last. TO FAME’S PROUD CLIFF is a valuable addition to the bookshelves and eReaders of lovers of historical fiction and/or biographies.

Linda Lee Greene’s novel “Guardians and Other Angels” is at
Linda Lee Greene’s novel “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams,” co-authored with Debra Shiveley Welch, is at
Linda Lee Greene’s artwork is on view online at

Linda Lee Greene’s Twitter handle is @LLGreeneAuthor.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Join Major League Baseball in Supporting Autism Awareness

Catch a baseball game and join Major League Baseball and your favorite team in support of autism awareness. Click on the team logos below to find out more.
o    Autism Awareness Ticket Offers
AUTISM SPEAKS: AUTISM AWARENESS; Catch a game and join Major League Baseball and your favorite team in support of autism awareness. Click on the team logos below to find out more.
·         Arizona DiamondbacksArizona Diamondbacks
Sun. April 12

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Sun. June 7

·         Baltimore OriolesBaltimore Orioles
Sat. April 11

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Sun. June 7

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Sat. April 25

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·         Los Angeles AngelsLos Angeles Angels
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Sat. April 25

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·         Oakland AthleticsOakland Athletics
Sun. April 12
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Sun. April 25

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Sun. April 19

·         San Diego PadresSan Diego Padres
Mon. April 13

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·         San Francisco GiantsSan Francisco Giants
Tue. June 2
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Fri. May 29

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Wed. April 22

·         Washington NationalsWashington Nationals
Sun. April 19

All-Star FanFest
July 10 - 14

Monday, April 13, 2015


·         POSTED BY JILL JEPSON ON APRIL 5, 2015 AT 2:41PM
VIew Blog
"FRESH START" acrylic painting
by Linda Lee Greene 
Here are the stories of two aspiring writers I worked with years ago:

The first, whom I’ll call “Jane” was positive her memoir was going to be enormously successful. Her greatest fear was that she’d have the press “beating her door down” once  her book came out. She’d had a colorful childhood, and her writing was strong, and she thought those two things would certainly lead to success.
I loved this writer--her passion, her energy, her vibrant outlook, but I worried that, once she saw how challenging the marketplace really is, she would falter.
Unfortunately, my fears came true. Her first rejection sent her reeling. When she had a half dozen, she was so devastated she stopped sending her memoir out—and that was the end of her writing career.
The second writer, “Joe,” had very different expectations from Jane. He was sure his magazine articles weren’t good enough for major venues, so he focused on small-circulation newsletters and religious magazines. He got into a niche of writing how-to articles, and racked up a lot of publications. But he never pushed himself beyond that narrow niche. Despite having a lot of talent, he never submitted to a national magazine or tried writing something new and different. He was so convinced it was pointless, he didn’t try.
Although Jane and Joe may sound like opposites, they had the same problem: They suffered from what Buddhist blogger Phillip Moffitt calls the “tyranny of expectation.”
Whether your expectations are sky high or not high enough—whether they’re making you suffer from shattering disappointment (like Jane) or keeping you from being the most successful writer you can be (like Joe), getting out from under them is one of the most liberating things you can do.
It’s not easy. Most of us will never let go of expectations altogether. But we can all loosen our grip on the expectations that bully and constrain us, at least a little. Here’s how:
See the writing life as an exploration. When you go exploring, you don’t know what you’re going to find. That’s the fun of it. The writing life isn’t a superhighway to success. It’s a winding path that can take you to beautiful vistas as well as through some pretty dark forests. Keep in mind you’re exploring unknown territory. It’s not going to be comfortable—but it is going to be exciting.

Look for possibilities rather than certainties. I used to try and fight the blues by telling myself I was certain my next work would be a success. It never worked.
Now, I think of what is possible, rather than what is certain. When you start looking at the possibilities open to you, you realize they are vast, even innumerable. Expectation is all about seeing a single outcome. Letting go of expectations means seeing that all bets are off and almost anything can happen.
Trust the process. Your writing is going to lead you where it will lead you. There is no “wrong” place. There is just the place you are. Relax, and let your writing guide you. Trust it to take you where you need to go.

“A life of no expectations is not a life without hopes or dreams,” writes Bill Bohlman on ThatBuddhaGuy blog. “It is a life of striving to attain…goals while constantly remaining aware that, for all we think we know, there is far more that we don’t.”
None of us knows where our writing will take us. Instead of imagining what lies around the next bend, open up to the infinite range of possibilities ahead.

Jill Jepson is the author of Writing as a Sacred PathGet her free ebook Calling Up the Writer Within: A Short Guide to Writing at 50 & Beyond here.


Linda Lee Greene’s novel “Guardians and Other Angels” is at

Linda’ Lee Greene's novel “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams,” co-authored with Debra Shiveley Welch is at

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Boy Who Became a Robin

I am always in search of ways of connecting with my Cherokee roots, and in that effort, I belong to several Facebook groups centered on Native American history and lifeways, both past and present. The following, delightful “coming of age” Chippewa legend “The Boy Who Became a Robin” was posted initially by my friend, Katherine Collins (Lady Night Hawk). She is a Reverend, Minister of Peace & Chief Administrative Officer of the federally recognized independent branch of the Oklevueha NAC. It is a universal spiritual church that honors and respects all spirituality and the Native American beliefs and traditions. The church follows the Oklevueha NAC laws & guidelines, especially the Code of Ethics. To get your membership card, go to the following website:

Once upon a time there was an old Indian who had an only son whose name was Opeechee. The boy had come to the age when every Indian lad makes a fast in order to secure a Spirit to be his guardian for life. 
The old man was very proud, and he wished his son to fast longer than other boys, and to become a greater warrior than all others. So he directed him to prepare with solemn ceremonies for the fast. 
After the boy had been in the sweating lodge and bath several times, his father commanded him to lie down upon a clean mat, in a little lodge apart from the rest. "My Son, endure your hunger like a man, and at the end of twelve days, you will receive food and a blessing from my hands." 
The boy was careful to do all his father commanded, and lay quietly with his face covered, awaiting the arrival of his guardian Spirit who was to bring him good or bad dreams. 
His father visited him every day, encouraging him to endure with patience the pangs of hunger and thirst. He told him of the honor and renown that would be his if he continued his fast to the end of the twelve days. 
To all of this the boy replied not, but lay on his mat without a murmur of discontent, until the ninth day, when he said, "My Father, the dreams tell me of evil. May I break my fast now, and at a better time make a new one?" 
"My Son, you know not what you ask. If you get up now, all your glory will depart. Wait patiently a little longer. You have but three days more to fast, then glory and honor will be yours." 
The boy said nothing more, but, covering himself closer, he lay until the eleventh day, when he spoke again. "My Father, the dreams forebode evil. May I break my fast now, and at a better time make a new one?" 
"My Son, you know not what you ask. Wait patiently a little longer. You have but one more day to fast. Tomorrow I will myself prepare a meal and bring it to you." The boy remained silent and motionless beneath his covering except for the gentle heaving of his breast. 
Early the next morning his father, overjoyed at having gained his end, prepared some food. The food in hand, he took it and hastened to the lodge intending to set it before his son. Upon approaching the door of the lodge, to his surprise he heard the boy talking to someone. He lifted the curtain hanging before the doorway, and looking in, saw his son painting his breast with vermilion. And as the lad laid on the bright color as far back on his shoulders as he could reach, he was saying to himself, "My father has destroyed my fortune as a man. He would not listen to my requests. I shall be happy forever because I was obedient to my parent; but he will suffer. My guardian Spirit has given me a new form, and now I must go!" 
At this his father rushed into the lodge, crying, "My Son! My Son! I pray you leave me not!" 
But the boy, with the quickness of a bird, flew to the top of the lodge, and perching upon the highest pole, was instantly changed into a most beautiful Robin Redbreast. Looking down on his father with pity in his eyes, he said, "Do not sorrow, O my Father. I am no longer your boy, but Opeechee the Robin. I shall always be a friend to men, and live near their dwellings. I shall ever be happy and content. Every day will I sing you songs of joy. The mountains and fields yield me food. My pathway is in the bright air." 
Then Opeechee the Robin stretched himself as if delighting in his new wings, and caroling his sweetest song, flew away to the nearby trees.


Linda Lee Greene’s novel “Guardians and Other Angels” is at

Linda’ Lee Greene's novel “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams,” co-authored with Debra Shiveley Welch is at

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Tale of Two Tales: Your Deeds Reflect in Your Children

The following are based on actual facts, but my friend Yatendra Singh has just added his own language and morale to them to make them more personal and interesting.


Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed “Easy Eddie.” He was Capone’s lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good at his craft! In fact, Eddie’s skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid Eddie very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large it filled an entire Chicago city block. Eddie lived the high-life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocities that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft-spot, however. He had a son whom he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And despite his own involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach his son right from wrong. Eddie wanted the boy to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all of his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn’t give his son; he couldn’t pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. He wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided to go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al “Scarface” Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and thereby offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew the cost would be great. But he testified anyway.

Within the year, Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street…But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he could offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine. The poem read:

“The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still.”


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare.

He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. We would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn’t reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet; nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 calibers blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plan and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O’Hare and his tattered fighter plane limped back to the carrier.

Upon arrival, Butch reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of his daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy’s first Ace of World War II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Medal of Honor. A year later, Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His hometown would not allow the memory of this WWII hero to fade, and today, O’Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O’Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch’s memorial displaying a statue of him and his Medal of Honor. It’s located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O’Hare was “Easy Eddie’s” son.

Morale: You reap what you sow, and your deeds, whether good or bad, reflect in your children. It’s for you to decide…food for thought!
Linda Lee Greene’s novel “Guardians and Other Angels” is at
Linda’ Lee Greene's novel “Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams,” co-authored with Debra Shiveley Welch is at