Weather Report, July 13

Tangier Island (photo from

Our currently featured books, “The Crows of Beara,” by Julie Christine Johnson, “Begin the Begin,” by Robert Dean Lurie and “When Enemies Offend Thee,” by Sally Whitney, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.




DR COPTR is the story of Dr. David Nichols and the extraordinary relationship he forged with Tangier Island. Nichols, a physician and pilot on the Northern Neck of Virginia, began flying to the tiny island in the Chesapeake Bay on his day off each week to provide medical care to islanders who had been without a resident doctor for many years. He vowed he would never abandon them, and for more than three decades he never did. The one-time national “Country Doctor of the Year” left a remarkable legacy on the island, including a state-of-the-art health center and his successor, a high school dropout he encouraged and mentored and now is the island’s primary medical caregiver. Also woven into the fabric of the story is Tangier’s current plight: its gradual disappearance due largely to climate change.


In abuse situations, people can go to court for orders of protection. But in these twelve stories, people also seek protection from various demons in unusual ways — by impersonating famous musicians, cooking pet chickens, marching in parades, shooting at coyotes, calling lost dogs, and more. The characters don’t always find their way to safety or even survival, but somehow optimism prevails anyway. Set in Illinois, these subtly linked stories explore circumstances and emotions through details that stay with you far beyond the last page.


Gleah Powers began her adult life at age 14, not as a runaway, but as a “send away” in 1962. Known as Linda in those days, her strong-willed grandmother put her on a greyhound bus to travel alone, cross-country, with no firm plans for a return. It was understood between them that Linda, a young artist, was strong enough. By her early teens she was already the jaded veteran of her mother’s first three divorces. She felt ready for the world, all set to navigate men, sex, and love.

As the 1970s begin, Linda moves to Los Angeles in the shadow of the Manson Murders. She then bolts to New York, and falls in love: first, with a gay friend, next, with a famous art-collecting movie mogul, third, with a wealthy philanthropist descended from the Vanderbilt fortune. In a grand effort to put all these false father figures behind her, she takes up with the leader of a powerful upscale cult who holds a number of otherwise intelligent urban professionals under his great spell.

This dark, blazingly honest, and often jubilant and deeply funny memoir, climaxes with Linda’s attempts to break through as an artist, be it as a painter or performer. She connects herself with the world … but it is a marriage and divorce, served bittersweet, a deathbed visit with her father and an icy refuge in Montana that plunge her into her authentic life.



Recently, I received a request from Smith Publicity Inc. to feature “Three Paws’ New Family,” by Karen Struck. Unfortunately I had to turn them down, because I had decided when starting this project that I would have to say no to childrens’ books.

This is certainly not because I don’t appreciate those who write for kids, or realize the special skills required to do that well. I also thought it was neat that Karen’s main character is outwardly a bit flawed (lacking a paw).

The thing is, I simply don’t want to leave that door to Snowflakes in a Blizzard wide open. If I highlight one childrens’ book, it would be hard to pass on any others that may come to my attention, and many  books of this kind are more about the illustrations than the text. That simply wouldn’t fit into this format.

Nevertheless, I wanted to pass along a quote from Karen Struck that I found interesting — especially to those of you have have been spending extended time at home with little ones.

“While I always prefer an actual physical book,” she wrote in an e-mail, “having the option to share an e-books with kids can be very helpful for the busy parent. E-books give parents instant access to a wide variety of fun, educational books for kids, and that is always a good thing. I also love how technology has helped provide many more fun resources for parents to go along with their kid’s favorite books. On my website (, we have a fun Spotify dance playlist inspired by the books, downloadable coloring sheets for kids, and fun videos to go along with each story in the series. When used correctly, technology can bring kids even more fun and educational experiences and that is something to be celebrated.”


This is the latest from former Snowflakes author (“Dottoressa”) Susan Levenstein, a physician based in Rome, Italy, who provides occasional comments and insights on the COVID-19 pandemic.

She blogs at





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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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