Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: An American Hero

Martin Luther King Jr.

January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

Today we honor Martin Luther King Jr., an American hero of the Civil Rights Movement. Before his life was cut short, King won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”

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Republican Book Bans

Tom Glenn, Writer

Republican and conservative efforts to ban books they disagree with are taking off. PEN America, an organization devoted to protecting free expression in literature, reports that there are at least 50 groups across the country working to remove books they object to from libraries. During the 2021-22 school year, 138 school districts in 32 states banned more than 2,500 books. These districts include 5,049 schools and in total enroll almost 4 million students.

Texas and Florida lead the nation in book bans. The books most frequently targeted have been by or about Black or L.G.B.T.Q. people, according to the American Library Association.

To my way of thinking, these efforts are in direct violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which protects freedom of speech. The conservatives, well-to-do and powerful, are trying to suppress those they look down on, especially women, blacks and other racial minorities, and those with…

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Cabbages Not Kings

Jane Lindskold brings up some important thoughts on The Lord of the Rings. I love both books and movies.

What say you?

Jane Lindskold: Wednesday Wanderings

Two Great Tastes

This week has shaped up busier than I expected, even as I wrote about my busy start of the year last week. The page proofs for A New Clan in mass market arrived roughly two months earlier than I expected them, and with a shorter deadline. Deep sigh.

Last week, in my FF, I asked a question. Several people indicated an interest in my thoughts, and so here they are. Thus follows my wanderings on how two of Jackson’s more significant omissions to the Lord of the Rings saga in the movies change the emphasis of Tolkien’s original story.

Let me start by stressing that I really liked the movies. Jim and I saw each one in the theater (and if you know us, you realize that’s a Big Thing). We bought the expanded versions. We have watched them several times.

However, we’ve also read the books…

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Brady PAC Data on Gun Violence

Great post by Tom Glenn about gun violence.

Tom Glenn, Writer

The Brady PAC was formed leading up to the 2018 midterm elections. It was created to serve as a counterweight to “dark money” Super PACs created by the gun industry. It upholds the policy ideals that have been championed by its sister organization, Brady—one of the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention grassroots advocacy organizations.

Brady, United Against Gun Violence (formerly Handgun Control, Inc., the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence) is an American nonprofit organization that advocates for gun control and against gun violence. It is named after James “Jim” Brady, who was permanently disabled and later died in 2014 as a result of the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt of 1981, and his wife Sarah Brady, who was a chairwoman of the organization from 1989 until her death in 2015.

According to information that Brady PAC just released, there are over 393…

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The Power of Magical Thinking

I learn things every day.


In this season of miracles (for Hanukah) and magic (for Christmas) I’m always inspired, and a little bit confused, about what’s possible and what’s not. I don’t think Santa is going to come down my chimney, wearing a blue suit covered in Stars of David, with a bag of presents just for me; if only because I don’t have a chimney of my own. And I don’t think my Chanukiah (a menorah with an extra candle for Chanukah) is going to stay lit for eight days; in fact, I’ve never had candles that lasted more than half an hour at a time. But there’s something in the air, and in the lights and presents and TV movies and special foods and decorations, that makes it feel like anything is possible.

“Can we plant chicken trees this year?”

I don’t really believe in magic, though I really, really, want to, but…

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The Barnett Menorah

The first day of Hannukah sounds like the perfect time to share a small bit of my family history. I remember the beautiful silver menorah pictured above from my great grandma Celia Barnett’s apartment. Fast forward several decades, and the menorah made its way to my parent’s home. Last winter this little treasure came home with me.

Thus began the great mystery.

When I removed all the tarnish, I discovered an engraving on the base. Luckily, I happen to know someone who speaks both Hebrew and Yiddish fluently. They were able to give me this translation:

From the board of directors
of Machzikei Talmud Torah of Boro Park
to Ahron Tzvi Barnett for his efforts for the good of the institution. 5684

That puts it circa 1924. Machzikei Talmud Torah of Boro Park was founded in Brooklyn in 1908 and closed in 1941. Their focus was the Jewish religious education of children. They were located at 1319 43rd st., Brooklyn, NY. There is an article that mentions him being a Gabbai at the school.

The menorah was manufactured by Victor Siedman Mfg.Co. Inc. (c. 1920-1934) of Brooklyn, NY. The same company that made the silver candlesticks given to Celia on her 25th wedding anniversary in 1926.

But who was Ahron Tzvi Barnett? According to the family tree, Celia Barnett (1881-1978) married Isaac “Ike” Barnett (1876-1958). But her father’s name was Harris Barnett (1856-1944). Yes, a Barnett married a Barnett. No there was no family connection. So was the menorah given to her father, Harris, or her father-in-law, Marx “Max” Barnett (1855-1933). Neither of those names matched Ahron Tzvi Barnett. A bit more sleuthing, and a lot of help from friends and family solved the mystery.

Tzvi is Hebrew for deer – Hirsh in Yiddish also mean deer

Hirsh – got Americanized to – Harris

The menorah belonged to my great great grandfather Harris Barnett.

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Reading Fantasy and Science Fiction

Check out this interview of my friend and fellow author, Andrew McDowell.

Andrew McDowell

Many thanks to author Jamie Adams for this opportunity to discuss the appeal of reading fantasy and science fiction stories. I enjoyed his work The Fathers, The Sons, and The Anxious Ghost.

Reading Fantasy and Science Fiction – Guest Post

Happy Holidays, everyone! Don’t forget that books make great gifts!

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Book Review: Sons of Darkness – Gail Z. Martin

Ex-priest Travis Dominick, and ex-special ops soldier Brent Lawson have both been disillusioned by their former employers and struck out on their own to battle demons, monsters, and nasty things that go bump in the night — Until they discover that they’re both working on the same case from different angles.

Sons of Darkness is a fast-paced mystery/paranormal/adventure that keeps you on your toes. At its heart, it is about moving beyond the pain of the past and embracing who you’ve become. Not to mention learning that sometimes, having a friend at your back is not only a good idea, it’s essential.

I can’t wait to read C.H.A.R.O.N., the next book in the series.

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Andrew McDowell

When a writer’s work is published, it not only goes out into the spotlight, but so does the writer. People who read books are pretty much guaranteed to be interested in learning more about the people who wrote the words, to find out more about the mind behind the stories they become devoted fans of. But the spotlight can be a double-edged sword.

Writers need to use public appearances and speaking in order to help spread the word about their work and build a network with other writers. It’s part of the marketing process. The nice thing about these events and conferences is that a writer can plan ahead to prepare for these events.

On the other hand, sometimes the spotlight can bring about negative feelings. The simple fact is not all people crave or seek the spotlight, especially introverted people like me. It’s especially negative when one hasn’t had…

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It Is Time For The November Self-Promotion Party!

It’s party time!
Share a link for you book.
Here is my latest:

Mark Of The Goddess

Sometimes a blessing can be a curse.

Young Maya bears the mark of the moon goddess, a sign that would doom her to sacrifice in her village where the death god is revered. Forced to dye her golden eyes dark, Maya lives in constant fear of discovery. To save her family and the village’s future, she must find the courage to stand up to the high priest before he can bring the death god into this world.


charles french words reading and writing



Hello to all the writers out there and reading this blog!

It is well into the month of November, so it is time for a shameless self-promotion party; please do not be shy about your work.

Writers need to be their own best publicists, and we should also help each other!

Let the world know about your book(s)!

Promote them as much as you can!

Shout to the world about your writing!

Tell us about your book(s), and leave an image and a link if you can.

Here is my shameless self-promotion: my latest nonfiction book can help writers who have issues with finishing first drafts of their books. If that is you, I offer direct, practical advice on how to Get The Draft Done! Helping Writers Finish Their First Draft by Charles F. French.

In order for as many people to see your work as possible, please Tweet…

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