Weather Report, Jan. 7

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(Photo from Baltana)

Our currently featured books, “Are You Famous?,” by Ken Waldman and “Two Natures,” by Jendi Reiter, can be found by scrolling down below this post, along with the First Tuesday Replay. Or, just click the author’s name on our author’s page.



Many books have been written by cancer survivors, many others by their family members or caregivers. But this account of Charles Entrekin’s life-or-death struggle with leukemia is different, because it looks at the story from two perspectives — his, and that of his wife Gail. Moreover, it does so with poetry.

Says Charles: “This book documents a transformative and cathartic experience in my life, and it is a natural follow-up to my previous collection of poems, PORTRAIT OF A ROMANCE, a love story to my wife. THE ART OF HEALING also tells a story—a story of discovery and fear, healing, forgiveness, compassion and love.

“Gail and I had experienced what we called a shared reality for 35 years, but approached my diagnosis of cancer, of necessity, from separate points of view. It became obvious that we were going to have to go through this experience as separate people. We began looking into Buddhist philosophy and thought. As I began facing the possibility of not surviving this experience, I found myself trying come to grips with what my life story was all about. The more I delved into Buddhism, the more I began to appreciate a perspective that questioned my belief and attachment to the story of who I thought I was.

“After spending some time doing this, I tried to explain to my brother on the telephone one day what about Buddhism interested me and I failed to come up with a good answer. So I set about devising what I call my ‘elevator speech,’ a way of explaining — in a limited amount of time–what attracted me to Buddhism. The short version is as follows: Buddhism gave me a way to let go of my attachment to the self I used to believe in.”


These sixteen stories are rooted in foreign places, cemeteries, violence, and strong women. The worlds the characters construct are unforgiving. Their paths cross in tangled and sometimes unfortunate ways. In the title novella, five linked stories, three women use wit, seduction, and weapons to master the men they meet. The ribald reverend in “The Second Coming” meets his match in nineteen-year-old Charity. In “Super Secrets,” two women are neighbors and lovers, until one is betrayed and exacts revenge. On a darker note, a crazed horse and a storm at sea shatter a fragile love in “Slashing at the Nets.” Then, in “Storm Painter,” an artist moves in with a writer, but their past destroys his third novel. Place is important. No one other than an Italian detective would find a clue in a singular tortellino. The New York sniper would only be trained by the Israeli Defense Force. This short story collection spans centuries where nothing is as it seems, and twists are as abundant as they are deadly.


Eighteen year old Michael Flynn chooses to live in his 1982 Ford LTD station wagon, The Blue Whale, rather than his mother’s home. Her hoarding has made the house unlivable. Then Michael commits a crime and is sentenced to community service, where he meets chain-smoking Shelly Miller, who is also cleaning the high school over the summer. What should have been tedious leads to a journey to self-discovery.

Michael begins to fall for Shelly, but isn’t ready to open up to her. Shelly, in turn, isn’t quick to reveal much about herself either. However, it’s a shared love of words and Pablo Neruda’s poetry that brings them closer. Slowly, Michael begins to entrust Shelly with the parts of himself he felt necessary to hide, including the fact he’s never met his father. His honesty eventually coaxes Shelly into revealing her own troubled past. The two forge a bond, and Shelly helps Michael uncover the buried secrets that reveal his identity.








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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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