Tag Archives: memoirs

ALL THE COLORS INSIDE ME by Diane M. Walker (Book Review)

Has Diane M. Walker found her true love after two failed abusive marriages? Her personal journey within reflects the humor, illness, substance abuse, jail, depression, death, the demise of her career and her spiritual faith.

Through all of the trials and tribulations, Diane finds an inner strength that not only pulls her through but also finds unconditional love and forgiveness for her life partner and best friend, John.

She shares stories of her strength and how she was able to overcome some of the heart-wrenching and horrific experiences in her life.

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
I can’t even fathom living through everything Diane’s endured. Below is a sneak peek of a few life-altering events in her life. I’m only going to list my top three picks and then discuss them. For more on her life, you’ll have to purchase the book.

Ok, here goes.

1.) Two abusive ex-husbands: No one wants to be the victim of an abusive relationship, yet alone two. One such relationship would break most people’s spirit. Two: It would difficult not to shut down and withdraw within thyself. To find the strength to get up in the morning is no easy feat but she does it. BRAVO!

2.) Death of two parents: I’ve lost two dads so I can relate to the pain and don’t wish that on anyone.

3.) Jail time: Diane and John’s legal trouble took it’s toll on their lives emotionally, physically and financially. Through it all, they stood by each other. They weren’t married, but it was hard to tell because they still honored the vows, “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”

Besides the doom of gloom, there were happy moments. One example springs to mind: the Christmas tree incident. John had the brilliant and funny idea of placing “tree” air freshener inside the artificial branches to create the illusion of a real tree.

That man really would do anything for his one true love.

To find out what else he’s done for her over the years, you’ll have to read the book.


Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 



Diane Walker is a Trenton NJ native. Having developed a love for literature at an early age, she began writing poetry and short stories.

After failed marriages and losing the love of her life through death, she chose to write her story at the age of 59.

Diane sincerely hopes her story empowers others to remain steadfast in their strength, belief in their Higher Power and know, no matter what the circumstances, they too can overcome obstacles and challenges in their life.

Her professional background is in Sales, Marketing and Residential Property Management.

Diane is presently single with one adult daughter and two granddaughters.

She now lives a basic and somewhat secluded life in Northeast Pennsylvania.



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Interview with Teesa Mee

Welcome, Teesa Mee❣
1. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
(Teesa) I am the oldest five children and the only girl. My last three brothers were born when I was 14, 16, and 17, so I became their built-in babysitter. I attended the University of Michigan in the pre-med program, but decided I was just not competitive enough to become a doctor. After a bad breakup, I failed to complete one class and forfeited my degree in Experimental Biology. However, I had a job waiting and did not return to college for 36 years. In the meantime, I married, adopted two children, worked in administrative and supervisory positions, and then lost my son to suicide when he was 24. The toll of the grief on my health was devastating. I lost my job in December 2009, and we soon lost our home and a vehicle to bankruptcy. (My husband has been totally disabled since 1999.) When Social Security granted me SSDI to deal with my health, I began to recover and returned to college. I graduated a year ago with a BS in Information Science, specializing in Web Development. However, along the way, I began editing for several independent authors and decided to pursue that instead of Web design. My business is called Indie Editing Services and you can find me on Facebook under that name and my website is www.indieeditingservices.com.
I began writing during my teenage years to deal with the angst I was feeling. I wrote poetry and song lyrics, and composed stories to tell my younger brothers.  When I overcame my grief over the loss of my son, I began a memoir on surviving suicide grief. I hope to publish that early next year. I have also participated in several anthologies, published those teen poems in a volume called Looking Back: Poems from the Adolescent Me, and just published my Thesaurus Erotica.
2. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.
(Teesa) Sometimes the words just flow. Other times, not so much. I have a novella on the back burner. I have written 5K of it, the beginning and the end. I’m stuck on the middle section and have decided to just let it sit, coming back to it now and again. I find that taking walks and reading other books often helps.
3. Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
(Teesa) I have a full-time job as the customer service manager for a start-up software company. The best part is I get to work from home. I also run Indie Editing Services, editing other authors’ books. I enjoy my two dogs and they demand my attention throughout the day. When I can, I spend time with my 11-year-old grandson. He is the joy of my life. Then there’s laundry, grocery shopping, vacuuming, and dusting.
4. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(Teesa) I have a pen name to protect my family of birth from my secret career. However, my close family members and friends know that I write and they are highly encouraging of me. Some of my best support comes from other authors I have met on social media.
5. Will you share with us your all-time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
(Teesa) Thanks for limiting it to ten, or I could be here all day
and night.
  1. Edna Ferber, who wrote one of my all-time favorite books, Show Boat, which became America’s first musical!
  2. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.  
  3. Andrew Greeley; I love his view of God as an adolescent girl in a huge crush with humanity.
  4. Stephen King, especially Salem’s Lot and The Stand.
  5. Anne McCaffery, all of her Dragonriders of Pern books and her Acorna books.
  6. JD Robb’s In Death Series. The relationship between Eve Dallas and Rourke is HAWT!
  7. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series
  8. Michael Connelly, especially his Harry Bosch books.
  9. Jane Austen, who doesn’t love her books and she has inspired so many more writers of Victorian romance.
  10. Mason Sabre, my good friend, who writes the most emotionally engaging paranormal stories I have ever read!
6. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love to see cast in the parts?
(Teesa) Ooh, that’s a toughie because many of my faves have been turned into movies. I guess I would go with JD Robb’s Naked in Death starring Scarlett Pomer as Eve Dallas and Tom Ellis as Roarke.
7. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(Teesa) It’s no secret at all. My current project is a memoir of surviving suicide grief called Who Am I Now? I’m also working on a novella about a family of serial killers and the cop who is hunting them. Then way back, I’m working on a full novel called Mementoes based on the song Lydia the Tattooed Lady.
8. Where can we find your stories, and is there a particular reading order?
(Teesa) In order of publication, but not reading order, I have Looking Back, Poems from My Adolescent Self (Kindle Purchase Link)
Demon Depression (essay) and Sunshine (poem) in This Beautiful Escape Vol. 1 
Don’t Give Up (essay) and Don’t Despair (poem) in
This Beautiful Escape Vol. 2
Two poems in
Warrior Women, Vanquishing with Passion and Path to the Light 
Thesaurus Erotica, a reference book for authors of romance and erotica (Kindle Purchase Link); and finally A Samhein to Remember in Detours in Our Destination which will be published in August.
9. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
(Teesa) Fans can email me at teesamee61@gmail.com
You can find me on social media in all these places:
10. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(Teesa) This has been a blast and I just want to give a shout out to all my fans and friends for supporting my dreams, especially Melissa Ann, Mason Sabre, Angela Peters, David S. Scott, Jennifer Cleary Roche, Kathy Ossian, Jan Jimenez, Carmen Meerschaert, my daughter Suzie and her partner Jess, and my hubs Gary, who has the patience of a saint. I love you, Babe!
Wow, Teesa Mee, you have gave me and our lovely visitors plenty of ideas of what to read next. Now the real questions is…. What shall we buy first? Decisions, decisions……..
Before you, my sweet guests, run off to Amazon please take a moment to say howdy to Teesa. Ask her a question. We’d love to hear your thoughts on her responses and the books discussed today.


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Interview with Allen Long (Less Than Human)

Welcome, Allen Long!!
1.  For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
(Allen) I began telling stories almost as soon as I discovered them.  In sixth grade, my teacher let me write a short story a week instead of doing the regular English assignments.  I attended a six-week writer’s workshop at Michigan State between high school and college.  I took all of the creative writing courses offered in college.  I earned a BA in journalism, an MA in fiction writing, and an MFA in fiction writing.  After that, I began publishing short stories and memoirs in literary magazines.
2. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.
(Allen) Knock on wood, but I’m pleased to say I’ve never had writer’s block.  However, the hardest thing for me is to get a new short story off the ground.  In the last year or so, I’ve written the first seven pages of three short stories.  Eventually, I’ll either lose interest in the story or I’ll get a new insight that spurs me on.  If I’m having
trouble with a short story, I stop and write a memoir, which seems to be my natural form.  If you read the author
comments at the back of the O. Henry Prize Stories, you’ll see that many authors started their award-winning stories and then got stuck.  Sometimes years later, they’ve had a flash of insight that allowed them to finish their stories.  So if a writer gets stuck on a short story, it may be that the story needs more time to marinate before it can be written.  By the way, I read the O. Henry Prize Stories every year because I believe reading quality fiction helps a writer produce the same. 
3.     Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
(Allen) I read, go to the movies, swim, walk my dogs, hang out with my wife and friends, and stay in touch with my grown children.  I’m also an assistant editor at Narrative Magazine, so I read and evaluate submissions.
4.     I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(Allen) I have a close circle of friends and relatives who know I write.  They are proud of me and excited when I publish.  Otherwise, I keep my writing a secret.

5. Will you share with us your all-time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
Ray Bradbury
Raymond Carver
Anthony Doerr
William Faulkner
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Tessa Hadley
Ernest Hemingway
Alice Munro
Richard Russo
William Trevor
6.     If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love to see cast in the parts?
(Allen) I don’t think I can answer this one.  I never think about how books might be turned into movies.  I’d be thrilled if my book were turned into a movie; however, I’d want the casting experts to work their magic.
7. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(Allen) I’m writing memoirs and short stories for literary magazines.  Maybe some of this activity will lead to
another book.
8. Where can we find your stories, and is there a particular reading order?
(Allen) Here are some memoirs and short stories that can be found online.  The pieces are not connected and
can be read in any order.  These pieces do not appear in my book.
 “Sleepover” in Ray’s Road Review (memoir)
“Freak Out” in Verdad (memoir)
 “The Poincare Conjecture” in 42opus (fiction)
“Common Ground” in Amarillo Bay (fiction)
9. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
(Allen) My email address is allenlongauthor@gmail.com
10. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(Allen) Readers may be curious about the alligator on the cover of Less than Human: A Memoir.  This image was inspired by an incident in which our negligent parents encouraged my brother and me, when we were in elementary school, to swim in a Florida lake inhabited by an adult alligator while they visited inside with our grandparents.
Readers who are writers may be curious about my process for writing this book.  I took 3.5 years to write the first eight chapters of the book.  Then I hired a professional editor, and I took another 1.5 years to write the ninth and final chapter and complete five more cover-to-cover drafts of the book.  My publisher accepted the book as is, so I highly recommend working with a professional editor and doing lots of revising and polishing.
And one final piece of advice to aspiring writers: whatever you are writing, get the story off the ground immediately.  I reject so many submissions at Narrative Magazine because the writer “warms up” for seven pages, and then the real story begins on page 8.  This is one of the primary reasons I reject stories. 
(KAMERON) Ladies and Gents, I hope you enjoyed my interview with Allen Long. If you have any questions or
comments for Allen, by all means, leave him a message below. Thank you in
advance for your visit! 

In Less than Human, Allen Long tells the story of his often nightmarish childhood in the wealthy suburbs of D.C., the wonders and mysteries of teenage love, his ill-advised journeys into corporate America and a hellish marriage, and ultimate breakdown. And yet, his story is mostly one of triumph. He draws strength from the joys of fatherhood, he finds true love in his second marriage, and through working with psychotherapists and leading a life rich in self-examination, he overcomes both child abuse and the resulting PTSD, finally learning that instead of being less than… he is, indeed… human. Less than Human follows an unconventional path, arranged as much by theme and association as by chronology. These stories take many forms, from driving narrative to lyrical reverie, at times evoking mythic overtones, and this variety, along with an unflinching confrontation with the conditions and consequences of childhood abuse, creates its own form of suspense-in what direction will this book take us next?



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Nazis and Nudists by David Haldane (Book Review)


The real baby boomer story laid bare.

Ever wondered what it’s like to get so lost in the nether regions of an era that you can barely find your way home? A ward – winning journalist David Haldane tells you with verve and humor in his new memoir, Nazis & Nudists, set for release on October 1st , by Black Rose Writing. The book is aimed at baby boomers, would – be counter culturists, news reporters, their audiences, history buffs and anyone who’s ever struggled toward the light or appreciates the gripping tale of someone who does.

Haldane eventually achieved salvation the way increasing numbers of American men do these days; by finding love via the Internet on a distant and exotic Philippine island. En route to marital bliss, however, he traversed some rocky terrain from the cluttered newsroom of the Berkeley BARB to the disintegrating halls of the Los Angeles Times in its waning days. He also encountered such iconic purveyors of the time as a grandfatherly Walt Disney, a young bodybuilding Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charles Manson’s lawyer who got murder ed for his troubles, Timothy and Joanna Leary at the gates of hell, a famous beatnik’s ghost on the railroad tracks, American terrorists with stolen identities fixing to take down the country and Bernie Sanders as a young mop – haired politician cursing at t his own image on the screen.

“The story follows the arc of an era,” Haldane says. “ It will interest baby boomers, their younger siblings who wished they were there and their children and grandchildren who are glad that they weren’t.”


Purchase this book at Black Rose WritingAmazon or Barnes & Noble.


(request submitted by author for an honest critique) 
David sure has lived an eventful life and it’s not over yet. I wonder what other adventures are in store for him. So far, he has traveled all over the world (ex. Germany, Mexico, Greece and Philippines). He’s met the most interesting people (ex. Walt Disney and Arnold Schwarzenegger). He’s also participated in antiwar demonstrations, worked at The LA Times, and been married more than once. Folks, that’s not everything he’s lived through. 
Compared to his life, mine seems rather low key which is mighty fine in my book. 
Ladies and gents, if you like biographies/memoirs, then pick up Nazis and Nudists. If nothing else, it’ll be a great conversation starter when your friends ask what you are reading. I mean, who could pass up asking follow-up questions after hearing this title. 🙂
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

Purchase this book at Black Rose WritingAmazon or Barnes & Noble.


David Haldane’s career in journalism has spanned more than four decades, beginning as an underground reporter for the Berkeley BARB and culminating in twenty – three years as a Los Angeles Times staff writer. Currently he live s in Joshua Tree, California , where he writes magazine articles and books. His work has appeared in many publications worldwide including Los Angeles Times Magazine , Orange Coast , Islands , Penthouse and Salon . It has been anthologized in two previous books.


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