Author Blogs

Telemachus Press, LLC is pleased to offer a venue for its author’s blog postings and other writings. This portion of our website is automatically fed with material provided by our authors who are third parties and are not employed by Telemachus Press, LLC. This externally provided commentary and any opinions contained therein are solely those of the author and not necessarily supported by Telemachus Press, LLC or any of its employees or subcontractors.

15
A friend told me she does not plan on voting in November 2020. She's sick of the corruption in Washington, has lost faith in the system, and believes her vote will not count. Why should I waste my time going to the polls or mailing in a ballot, she asked. I attempted to explain why that was a really bad decision but she wasn't hearing me. Now, as I write this, I realize I wasn't hearing her either. As the adage goes, voting is a right and not a privilege. Likewise, not voting is equally a right. Who am I to feel disappointed, even outraged, when someone pronounces they will not vote in the 2020 election? That answer comes to me easily. I have every right to feel this way since I am a person who votes. Those who don't vote insure that my vote, and the votes of others, will not matter. Is this a fair accusation toward my non-voting brethren? History confirms that it is. In 2016, I campaigned for Hillary. I did the usual stuff: walked door to door, made phone calls, licked envelopes. I ......

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03
Choosing which book to read on our 4th president was a bit challenging, but I settled on Richard Brookhiser's "James Madison" partially because it was only 250-pages versus the 800-page tomes I have been tackling. I opted for this "beach read" (as one reviewer called it) and I was not disappointed. There was little about Brookhister's book I did not like, including the length. I have read books by other accomplished biographers including McCullough, Isaacson, Chernow and Meacham and have fretted that they often failed to take their subjects to task. Not Brookhiser. He called out Madison on his lack of taking a stance on slavery, on his (and Jefferson's #3) major miscue in believing Florida was included in the Louisiana Purchase, on his ineptness as commander in chief that led to the British being able to burn Washington City to the ground during the War of 1812 (Madison's War), and for his overall poor performance as president. Brookhiser often slipped into "I" and gave his concl......

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22
A little over fourteen years ago I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I never cried over fear of dying. Instead, I cried because I missed my childhood poodle, Jennie. A couple of days after I completed my final chemotherapy session, I set out to buy myself a gift. It took a few weeks to find him, but I eventually came home with Frisco, a ten-week-old, three pound grey poodle. He was a fiery sort. The veterinarian told me at our first appointment that if he were a Rottweiler she would suggest I put him down. Bah-humbug!  Like Jennie when I was growing up, Frisco was my service dog and I was his service person. We comforted each other, traveled together, fought at times, and cuddled. He was a perfect blend of monster and angel.  2019 began with Frisco acting unusually aggressive – even for him. I took him to several vets and was mostly told it was behavioral issues. I knew this to be false. I finally found a specialist that listened to me and confirmed what I feared. He......

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22
Ona Judge was enslaved by the Washingtons. When she was to be given to Martha's very difficult daugther, Ona escaped. Despite the Washingtons' efforts, she was never recapatured. "Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge" by Erica Armstrong Dunbar tells the story of this amazing woman. My friend told me about Ona Judge and I knew learning about her was a necessary detour from my presidents project. As you know if you have been following my blogposts, I have been very disturbed by our founding fathers' claims to want to end slavery while owning slaves. This book presented George and Martha as ruthless slave owners. I knew this was so although other biographers stopped short of calling the Washingtons to task on this. While speaking to a friend of mine about this, he said--as have many others--we should not look at the circumstances of the past with today's eyes. In other words, how can we judge the acts of persons in the 18th and 19th centurie......

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07
"Thomas Jefferson, The Art of Power" by Jon Meacham was the 4th book I have read in my quest to read a biography on each president in order, with some detours. Having read and blogged about Chernow's book on Washington, McCullough's book on Adams and Isaacson's bio of Benjamin Franklin, I was not looking forward to reading about Jefferson since the predecessor books did not always paint him in a favorable light. I was pleased, however, to find Meacham's book to be thorough, thought-provoking and, of course, educational. As a friend of mine once said, it's best not to see everyone naked. Nonetheless, I did not look away while Meacham presented a 500-page stripped down Jefferson, as a biographer ought to do.  We all know about TJ being a slave owner and the accounts of him and Sally Hemmings (who was not only his slave but his deceased wife's half-sister). Rightfully so, such well known and unconfirmed information was not given a lot of ink by Meacham. It feels gossipy and, ......

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24
For the third book I've read in my passion project on the presidents, I chose  "John Adams" by David McCullough and complimented it by watching "John Adams", the mini-series on Amazon Prime (never going ahead of the book) and by reading letters written between Adams and Abigail published at the Massachusetts Historical Society website. (Letters by Jefferson are there too, plus a host of other interesting stuff).  McCullough crafts a sentence with finesse. Not a word is wasted. As a writer, I learned as much about Adams as I did about writing.  This was the fourth or fifth time I started the John Adams mini-series. It's slow-moving and failed to grip me past the Boston Massacre and Adams' representation of the British soldiers at trial until I began learning about who Adams truly was. Then, as I read the book and watched the series, studied every nuance Paul Giamatti put into his portrayal of our second president (Damn the bad reviews of hi......

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13
In my quest to read a book on all the presidents, I finished Chernow's "Washington, A Life" and decided to detour to Walter Isaacson's "Benjamin Franklin, An American Life" to get the full flavor of this time in American history. Isaacson's writing style is conversational, not pedantic, and challenging enough for me to have to look up a few words. This book was the perfect meat between a George Washington and John Adams literary sandwich. I most enjoyed Isaacson's conclusions, including a very satisfying end to the life story of one of our most innovative statesmen.  Putting Franklin's imperfections aside (mostly his desertion of his wife and some odd political ideals), his ideas permeate around us to this day. Not only his inventions and his civic discoveries but also his belief in the middle class as the backbone of American society. He is known, and often parodied, for flying a kite with his bald dome and long hair prominent, but Franklin was a complex man who probably was the......

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31
Book: "Washington, A Life" by Ron Chernow Podcast: American History Tellers, Season 5, Revolution If you have been following my blog series on American History: President x President, you are aware that I have been wondering, how did we get from the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution to where we are today? How have our political parties evolved into a torrent of conflict and violence? How has our country become so divided? Or, I wonder--4 presidential biographies and 2 detours into my passion project--have I been naive in viewing the birth of our nation in a romantic hue? Do I need to come to terms with the fact that little has changed over the last two-and-a-half centuries?  Is the answer to my questions as simple as, people remain the same and the only change from the days of our founding fathers and mothers is the current ease of disseminating information, the narrowing of the wide-reaching world, the unchecked availability of automatic weapons......

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16
I don't know exactly how I came up with this idea but it involved Laura Linney, one of my favorite actresses. Perhaps it was an article about her that I read, or an interview I heard, but she talked about her role as Abigail Adams in the HBO miniseries "John Adams" and how reading about our founding fathers was learning about American History. Maybe she said something about reading biographies on all the presidents or maybe she didn't, but I decided that's what I would do. I would read a biography on each president, in order, so I could get a history lesson on America.  The idea came at a perfect time. I had received my MFA in creative writing from the University of Tampa and my historical novel, "Bee King", about the first person diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in the United States, was published. I had put all of me into that book and into achieving my MFA that I needed a writing break. One richly deserved after writing novels for over thirty years, studying the craft of wri......

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21
I was a young prosecutor when I wrote Forbidden Room, rising at 5 each morning to write and then heading to work. With a red carpet beneath my feet and stars in my eyes, I thought I had the world figured out. I’ve learned since then that we actually know nothing, that each day is unpredictable and brings a surprising mixed bag of happiness and sadness or, if we’re lucky, contentment. When my dad would call and ask what was going on and I would respond, “nothing,” he’d say, “that’s good.” Three decades after Forbidden Room was published, I understand that “nothing” is a gem. I’ve published ten books since then, including a second and improved edition of Forbidden Room, Forbidden Night, book two of the Forbidden Trilogy and now Forbidden Horses, the final book of the trilogy. I didn’t realize it was a trilogy until working on the second edition of Forbidden Room when I unde......

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